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EDITORIAL: Biden’s sea of red ink

President Joe Biden loves to brag about cutting the federal deficit. Where are the misinformation police?

During an address to Congress in March, Mr. Biden claimed to have been “delivering real results in fiscally responsible ways,” adding that his administration had “already cut the federal deficit by over $1 trillion.”

That was too much even for the left-leaning fact-checkers. Politifact pointed out that, while Mr. Biden did indeed preside over smaller deficits than the Trump administration saw in its final year, the president had left out important context about emergency pandemic spending.

“President Biden has presided over declining deficits, but that’s because the deficit started staggeringly high because of the pandemic,” Steve Ellis, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a group that tracks federal spending, told PolitiFact in March. “If you compare the deficit to pre-pandemic levels, they are incredibly high. Some of that is still residual effects from the pandemic response and higher interest rates, but it is also from increased spending and decreased revenues.”

The pandemic shot the annual deficit into record territory. Any “reduction” claimed by Mr. Biden was simply a reflection of COVID outlays coming off the books and the pandemic easing. In fact, thanks to the unprecedented spending pushed through a Democratic Congress by this White House, deficits remain near record levels. And a new report from the Congressional Budget Office projects them to balloon even bigger.

The CBO said Tuesday that it expects this year’s federal deficit to hit $2 trillion, almost $400 billion higher than the original estimate it released — and Biden boasted about — earlier in the year. That’s up $300 billion from a year ago. Among the factors driving this red ink, according to the CBO, are higher than estimated costs for Mr. Biden’s student loan giveaways and increased Medicaid spending.

The CBO report also projects that the nation’s publicly held debt will increase from 99 percent of gross domestic product at the end of this year to 122 percent of GDP — the highest level ever recorded — a decade from now. “Then it continues to rise,” the report said.

At the same time, The Wall Street Journal reports, “CBO’s revenue projections are little changed. Revenue is expected to total 17.2 percent of GDP this year — roughly the 50-year average before the pandemic.”

All this makes a mockery of Mr. Biden’s effort to pass himself off as a fiscal hawk. And it once again highlights that Washington doesn’t have a shortage of revenue. Instead, our elected officials have an out-of-control spending addiction — and the country has too many voters who complain about deficits while they relish sidling up to the federal trough.

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