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Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The federal budget deficit will reach $3.3 trillion in the fiscal year ending this month — more than triple the 2019 shortfall, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected on Wednesday.

Why it matters: That would be 16% of GDP, the largest amount since the end of World War II in 1945. The national debt is projected to exceed 100% of GDP in 2021 and rise to 107% in 2023 — "the highest in the nation's history," the CBO notes.

Driving the news: The CBO attributed the rise mostly to the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic "and the enactment of legislation in response."

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Felix Salmon: The U.S. government can borrow at less than the rate of inflation, which is a sign from the markets that they’re encouraging higher government spending, higher borrowing and higher debt.

  • The Treasury will always be able to repay that debt, because it borrows in dollars and can print as many of those as it likes.

Of note: The deficit could have been worse. The CBO projected in April that it would jump to $3.7 trillion.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Dec 2, 2020 - Economy & Business

Even bond investors look to be joining the risk-on party

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Long-dated U.S. Treasury yields jumped on Tuesday, as momentum pushed bond investors to sell and join the risk-on party in financial markets.

Why it matters: Bond investors have largely been incredulous about the prospects for U.S. growth and inflation — but recent good news on COVID-19 vaccines, global manufacturing data and U.S. holiday retail sales helped push yields on the 10-year Treasury note up by the most in nearly a month.

By the numbers: Census to show first decline of white population

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau via Brookings Institute; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The latest census is expected to show the first decline in history for the nation's non-Hispanic white population, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution's William Frey.

Why it matters: The U.S. is rapidly moving toward a majority-minority population — with the racial and ethnic diversity most apparent in younger cohorts. "This really is moving in a direction that’s going to favor the issues and the political agendas of these younger people," Frey told Axios.

11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats plot filibuster workarounds

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several Democratic lawmakers are moving away from calls to eliminate the filibuster while privately discussing alternatives to bypass it, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: These talks have ramped up in earnest following the Republicans’ move Tuesday to block a measure to protect and expand voting rights.