Feb 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Buttigieg says Democrats should be concerned about the deficit

Pete Buttigieg

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg said at a town hall in New Hampshire Sunday that the "time has come" for Democrats to do something about the budget deficit, which is projected to exceed $1 trillion under President Trump in 2020, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The 2020 Democratic field has focused little on the question of reducing the national debt, with Buttigieg himself acknowledging that it's "not fashionable in progressive circles."

  • The White House is preparing to introduce a budget proposal on Monday that would fail to eliminate the federal deficit over the next 10 years, despite Trump's campaign promise that he would do so by 2024, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: The comments seemed to be directed in part at fellow New Hampshire front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders, whom Buttigieg and other moderate candidates have criticized over the cost of his signature Medicare for All proposal.

  • "[I]f we’re spending more and more on debt service now, it makes it harder to invest in infrastructure and health and safety net that we need right now," Buttigieg argued on Sunday, two days ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

Between the lines: Younger Americans seem to be on board with the growing economic consensus that the national debt is not a pressing problem, with just 14.1% of those surveyed in a Harris Poll for Axios naming it as a top-three issue.

  • Americans over the age of 55 are more than twice as likely to cite the national debt as a top problem than Americans under the age of 39.
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