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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.

Jan. 6 select committee subpoenas four Trump aides

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Jan 6. select committee investigating the deadly Capitol riot has subpoenaed four aides to former President Trump for testimony and documents.

Why it matters: Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former communications official Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kash Patel, and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon were all in touch "with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6th insurrection," the committee said in a release.

U.S. friends in Latin America are turning to China

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The U.S. is losing Latin America to China without putting up a fight, Ecuador’s ambassador to Washington told Axios, laying bare her frustrations with early inattention from the Biden administration.

Why it matters: Ecuador isn't alone. China has deepened its engagement in the region, and it's now the top trading partner for many of the region's largest economies. That gives Beijing considerable leverage in a region historically dominated by the U.S., and makes Latin America a major frontier in the global competition for influence.