August 22, 2014

‘Regular Chaos’ Rather Than ‘Regular Order’ on Budget

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

The House and Senate appear to be making little effort to work out their differences over spending levels, let alone any broader budget deal that might involve President Obama.

“We no longer have ‘regular order’ so much as we have regular chaos,” Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby says in a recent blog. “A tacit decision seems to have been made to take no action on the budget until a crisis is at hand, which is not likely to occur until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.”

The administration’s release of its Mid-Session Review (MSR) on the budget last week seems unlikely to change that. But it is still useful to review the administration’s updated numbers on its most recent proposals.

The administration now sees the deficit shrinking to $759 billion (4.7 percent of GDP) this year, a substantial improvement from the $973 (6 percent of GDP) deficit projected in the President’s budget in April.

But recent legislative activity deserves little credit for this improvement, and the administration’s projected deficit for the next 10 years has grown to $5.8 trillion, up from $5.3 trillion in April.

“While the overall changes are modest,” Bixby says, “they trend in the wrong direction, particularly towards the end of the 10-year window.”