You don’t need a crystal ball or fortune teller to understand that the federal budget system is broken and setting us up for failure.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the most recent 2019 budget accord, which set the table for the December spending pacts, would boost the debt by $1.7 trillion over the next decade.
The CBO also estimated the 2019 budget deficit — the gap between what the government takes in and spends — was nearing a trillion dollars. Having spent more than they’ve taken in over the years has us staring down a national debt now stands at over $23 trillion.
With alarming numbers like this, you’d think there’d be more people concerned about it. It’s hard to believe the Tea Party movement that began in 2009 is come and gone in just a few years!
What’s even more alarming is how “sacred” the spending for the majority of the budget is and how hard it’s going to be to make any substantive changes to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, which accounts for 70% of the budget. If you throw in military funding, almost 89% of the budget is accounted for!
This also comes at a time when the Internal Revenue Service’s personal income tax audits have dropped to their lowest level in decades. The IRS audited 0.45% of personal income tax returns in fiscal 2019, down from 0.59% in 2018 and marking the eighth straight year of decline. The result, according to tax experts, is that the Treasury is letting billions of dollars annually go uncollected, even as budget deficits rise.”
And there’s more bad news potentially. Each year the National Taxpayer Advocate delivers its Annual Report to Congress, which identifies the ten most serious problems facing taxpayers and offers recommendations to fix them. One of those problems they highlighted in this year’s report was the gap between taxes owed and taxes actually paid was up to $381 billion for tax years 2011 through 2013 — which the watchdog calls an average surtax of more than $3,000 on the taxpaying households in the country.
Even more troubling if you’re watching the current crop of candidates vying for the right to challenge President Trump in the fall is the audaciousness of their tax and spending plans to woo voters. A Washington Post article this week highlights the intra-party rift over the Democratic presidential candidates proposes trillions in spending amid debate over what’s doable. The article’s review of the major spending proposals of the leading Democratic presidential candidates found 10-year costs ranging from about $4 trillion to more than $50 trillion. Put in perspective, the current annual federal budget now is about $4.5 trillion.
So we have a broken budget system which is really a broken spending system. And while the debt might seem ethereal, the federal government is expected to pay $479 billion on outstanding public debt this year, all while continuing an estate tax that destroys family businesses and brings in roughly $18 billion a year.
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