New Analysis Says National Debt Will Outgrow Total GDP By the End of FY2020 Due to COVID-19 'Stimulus'

Brittany M. Hughes | April 14, 2020
Font Size

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan group that studies and analyzes the nation’s growing deft and deficit, now projects the national debt – currently siting at more than $23 trillion – will exceed the size of the entire national economy by the end of this fiscal year, largely due to federal "stimulus" spending during the coronavirus pandemic.

From the CRFB:

Our latest projections find that under current law, budget deficits will total more than $3.8 trillion (18.7 percent of GDP) this year and $2.1 trillion (9.7 percent of GDP) in 2021. We project debt held by the public will exceed the size of the economy by the end of Fiscal Year 2020 and eclipse the prior record set after World War II by 2023.

In addition, the group predicts that even these dire projections “almost certainly underestimate deficits, since they assume no further legislation is enacted to address the crisis and that policymakers stick to current law when it comes to other tax and spending policies.”

“Our updated debt and deficit projections are based on current law and assume a robust and ultimately full economic recovery,” the analysis explained. “In theory, our projections could be too high or too low, but in reality, deficits and debt are likely to be much higher than we project.”

“Neither of these scenarios account for the (extremely likely) possibility that further legislation will be enacted to combat the current public health and economic crisis. Policymakers are already considering proposals to extend various parts of the CARES Act and pass further measures to support states, hospitals, businesses, and households. They may also enact more traditional stimulus measures once lockdowns end in an effort to jumpstart the economy,” the group added.

Based on current spending bills and federal “stimulus” spending over the coronavirus crisis, the CRFB predicts the national deficit, which was $984 billion last year, will quadruple to more than $3.8 trillion this year, predicting that “As a share of the economy, we project the deficit will total 18.7 percent of GDP in 2020.”

The group also said they expect the debt will grow to more than 100 percent of the nation’s GDP by the end of this year (up from a predicted 81 percent pre-COVID-19), and will reach over 107 percent by 2025, warning that “If policymakers use the current crisis as an excuse to enact a number of permanent and unrelated policies, debt could grow even higher and larger deficits would persist in perpetuity.”

So far, Congress has already spent more than $2 trillion on "aid" - which included payouts to tens of millions of Americans as well as millions in extra funding for NASA, PBS, the Kennedy Center, etc. - to help keep the national economy afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered countless businesses and cost millions of Americans their jobs in just the past few weeks.