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Expand chart
Data: Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Congressional Budget Office expects the U.S. budget deficit will top $1 trillion in fiscal year 2020, the first trillion-dollar deficit in history not caused by the Great Recession.

Why it matters: The deficit is rising at a time of exceptionally low unemployment and solid economic growth, rather than during a crisis, which is typically when spending elevates.

  • Deficits are expected to remain above $1 trillion indefinitely, rising to $1.7 trillion in 2030, with the total debt held by the public rising to 98% of GDP in that time.

Details: CBO projects real economic growth of 2.2% this year and an average of 1.7% through 2030.

  • Unemployment is expected to rise to 4.4% during that time.
  • Interest rates are projected to rise above 3%.
  • Inflation is projected to remain at 2%, meaning the estimates are priced for an almost ideal backdrop.

Don't sleep: The deficits in the latest projections are $160 billion higher through 2029 than in CBO’s prior baseline, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) points out.

  • "This is the net effect of roughly $500 billion in new debt from tax cuts in December’s appropriations package, partially offset by economic and technical changes."
  • The 2020 deficit is also dramatically higher than just five years ago when the deficit totaled $442 billion.

What they're saying: "Every year we set a new post-war record for debt as a share of the economy, every year the Congressional Budget Office warns that debt is rising unsustainably, and every year our largest trust funds get closer to depleting their reserves," CRFB president Maya MacGuineas says in a statement.

  • "Ignoring what is staring us right in the face is fiscal malfeasance."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Column / Harder Line

New England power fight foreshadows divisive clean energy future

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It wasn’t his first choice, but Sean Mahoney isn’t fighting a 150-mile proposed power line sending Canadian hydropower to New England as part of the region’s climate-change goals.

Why he matters: Mahoney, a senior expert at the nonprofit Conservation Law Foundation who lives in Maine, is seeking to compromise in a bitter battle over the proposal. Expect more fights like this as President Biden and other political leaders pursue zero-carbon economies over the next 30 years.

Mike Allen, author of AM
8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

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