The federal budget deficit is projected to be $ 2.3 trillion in fiscal 2021, a year-over-year decline but far above what the U.S. had seen prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.
That total excludes the $ 1.9 trillion aid spending proposed by President Joe Biden as the final size of the package has not been determined.
While the red ink is smaller than the $ 3.13 trillion shortfall in fiscal 2020, it will still be the second largest in the country’s history this year, either in US dollars or relative to the US economy of $ 20.9 trillion.
While the previous deficit was 14.9% of GDP, a level of 10.3% is forecast for 2021.
The dollar size of the budget deficit is $ 448 billion, or 25%, larger than the previous forecast by the CBO, a non-partisan agency that provides budgetary analysis to Congress.
Unsurprisingly, the CBO said the inflated level was due to the extra spending Congress put in to combat the effects of the pandemic. After passing the CARES bill for $ 2.2 trillion in March, Congress approved an additional $ 900 billion in December.
However, the report notes that the large deficits are somewhat offset by faster economic growth.
“These deficits, which were historically predicted to be large before the 2020-2021 coronavirus pandemic broke out, have widened significantly as a result of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic and the enactment of legislation in response,” the CBO said Report.
The deficits are also driving up national debt further.
Currently, the public share of the national debt is $ 27.9 trillion, or $ 21.8 trillion, or just over 100% of GDP. The CBO estimates this number will continue to rise, reaching $ 35.3 trillion, or 107% of GDP, by 2031. That would be the highest debt ratio in US history.
The average annual deficit is estimated at $ 1.2 trillion through 2031, exceeding the 50-year average of 3.3% of GDP.
The CBO expects GDP growth of 3.7% in 2021, which is below the Federal Reserve’s median forecast of 4.2%. However, this is an improvement over the 3.5% decline in 2020 as a whole.