All Commentary
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Federal Spending Is Out of Control

And it's been out of control for a long time.

The American federal government has a serious spending problem. The federal debt, the sum total of all the money the government has borrowed, has hit $21 trillion, with a cool $1 trillion of that coming from Trump’s first year in office. That is, undeniably, a lot of money, and media outlets all over the country are crowing about it being the first time a single-year deficit has been so high, but it simply isn’t so. Even by fairly kind calculations, it’s happened at least three times before—once under George W. Bush and at least twice under Barack Obama. Regardless, the federal debt is soaring, and eventually, that debt is going to come due. And when it does, what does that mean for Americans individually and on the whole? Join Antony Davies and James Harrigan as they discuss this and more on this week’s episode of Words and Numbers.

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Quick Hits

Self-driving car fatality

A cure for MS?


Foolishness of the Week: Internet tax


Topic of the Week: Trillion dollar deficit

Trillion dollar deficit


Why the deficit doesn’t match the change in the debt


How the government counts student loan debt


Federal government financial statements


Money supply




Social Security outlays




Official deficit


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  • Dr. Antony Davies is an Associate professor of Economics at Duquesne University, and co-host of the podcast, Words & Numbers.

  • James R. Harrigan is a Senior Editor at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also co-host of the Words & Numbers podcast.