Last week on July 19th, the federal government’s Office of Management and Budget unveiled its latest report entitled the U.S. federal budget “Mid Session Review.” Federal statutes mandate that they occasionally analyze and evaluate the government budget to update it and monitor any changes. The prior release came out in February of this year.
February’s update on the budget argued for an eye-watering $873 billion government fiscal year deficit. This latest release projects an $890 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending September 30th. It puts them just over their targeted budget at slightly less than two percent.
For a government projection, it looks good on paper. There is a dilemma with it though. In March of 2017 when the OMB brought out the Fiscal Year 2018 budget for the first time, they only forecast the yearly deficit for 2018 to be a mere $440 billion. That’s chump change for the U.S. Federal government folks.
This means that the true amount the government accountability office missed their projections by was over 100 percent. This is not what you might expect from the greatest economic power (relative to the rest of the world GDP) in at least a hundred years. Yet the news is actually worse than this.
Back in March, they forecast a full fiscal year 2019 budget of $526 billion. They just revised this figure last week in the updated report to $1.085 trillion. Now you are looking at 106 percent worse than they originally anticipated.
Last year’s reports were predicting decreasing deficits for the upcoming Fiscal Years of 2020 going forward until achieving a budget surplus supposedly in 2026 of a positive $16 billion. Yet the update now projects nearly endless trillion dollar budget deficits for the coming year, the year after, the year after and so on.
This is all upsetting enough for any responsible investor, businessman, or economist. Yet it does not even consider the chances of a significant national emergency, another (overdue) financial crisis, the next recession, or another war. Instead the big picture forecasters act as though all positive macroeconomic trends will continue to be untouchable over the coming decade.
This is obviously unrealistic. The real world does not work this way. In only the past two decades, the U.S. has become embroiled in conflicts or outright wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and various squabbling or anarchy-driven sub-Saharan African nations.
This does not even take into consideration the dot-com crash just after the new millennium or the Global Financial Crisis a decade ago from this fall. This Great Recession proved to be the worst economic pullback and financial market meltdown since the Great Depression of over 70 years ago.
Unfortunately for markets and your retirement portfolio, the stock market is “priced to perfection.” In the financial world, this means that equities and other assets have been valued by investors as though nothing can or will go wrong for the business environment at any point, period.
Investors have crazily decided to take the position that sales for companies will stay robust, the economy will remain buoyant, and consumer confidence will continue to soar indefinitely. When reality meets the domestic economy once again (as it always does every decade or so), it is not going to be pretty for massively overpriced U.S. stocks, bonds, and other heavily inflated asset values.
This does not even mention the fact that such a so-called “black swan event” will upend the government’s budget projections hopelessly once again, meaning even higher deficits and a mushrooming debt that is already at over $21 trillion dollars right now.
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Consider that no globally dominating power from world history has ever gotten away with running the kinds of incredible budget deficits that the United States plays around with on a regular basis, nor run up the incredible amount of debt that the U.S. has amassed. This is true going back to the Roman Empire and all the way forward to the British Empire. Sooner or later, the piper has to be paid.
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