Report: If Not for Republican Policies, the Federal Government Would Be Running a Surplus

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 – Following an announcement Monday from the Treasury that the federal government ran a deficit of $779 billion in Fiscal Year 2018, the Democratic staff on the Senate Budget Committee released a report showing that the federal government would be running a surplus today if not for four Republican policies.

Without the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the enormous post-9/11 defense buildup and two rounds of costly, regressive tax cuts, the federal government would be running a $156 billion surplus instead of a $779 billion deficit. The Trump Tax Cuts – which coupled permanent corporate tax cuts with temporary individual tax cuts – added $164 billion to the 2018 deficit.

The Bush tax cuts contributed $488 billion to the deficit in FY 2018, the Trump tax cuts added $164 billion, the direct costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ran up $127 billion and base defense increases led to $156 billion in spending.

Instead of spending nearly $1 trillion on the military and tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, the federal government could have paid for any of the following proposals – multiple times over for some – in FY 2018 and still balanced the budget.

  • Very nearly eliminate poverty for all Americans of any age. Estimated cost: $174 billion.
  • Pay the one-year average of the 10-year infrastructure funding gap. Estimated cost: $144 billion.
  • Provide high-quality early care and education (ECE) for children from birth to kindergarten. Estimated cost: $140 billion.
  • Eliminate child poverty by simply boosting the income of all families with children (and children who do not live with their families) over the poverty line. Estimated cost: $69 billion.
  • Double the budget of the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Geologic Survey. Estimated cost: $61 billion.
  • Make public colleges and universities tuition-free for working families, cut student loan interest rates in half, and allow every American with student debt to refinance at the lowest interest rate possible. Estimated cost: $60 billion.
  • Double the $1.40 per-meal allowance in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Estimated cost: $70 billion.
  • End homelessness in America. Estimated cost: $22.5 billion.

Read the full report here.