The Daily Chart: Deficits Forever?

One of my must-reads every Saturday morning is the weekly “Thoughts from the Frontline” email from economist John Mauldin. (If you want to get on his distribution list—it’s free—chick here.) He’s solid as a gold dollar, writes in plain English, and always has some quantitative data to back up what’s on his mind.

On his mind this week is the national debt and chronic deficit spending, which are out of control.

And Steve Moore offers this graphic look as how fast the national debt is accelerating, with estimates soaring by $8 trillion from the 2021 estimate:

There are more good charts and tables in this week’s John Mauldin missive. John writes:

None of us know what’s coming, but experience says we shouldn’t expect a smooth ride over the next 10 years.

Sometimes I wonder what it must feel like not to care about all this. I really don’t enjoy being a budget scold, partly because we are a dying breed. It is getting lonely in my worry closet. Very few people truly care about government debt anymore, and even the number who pretend to care about it is shrinking, especially in Washington, DC, and Congress. And almost no one even talks about the drastic changes it would take to actually balance the budget—much less begin paying down the debt.

I titled this letter “Deficits Forever” because, unfortunately, I think that’s probably what will happen. And that might be okay of we could at least keep the deficits somewhat smaller and more stable. That doesn’t seem to be in the cards, though. We are going to reckon with this debt for a long time.

John, by the way, is a long-term optimist. Just put on your pessimist hat for a moment, and go buy gold.

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