Insights + Resources

Extraordinary Times Means Extra Federal Debt

Oct 19, 2020

Federal Debt
Federal borrowing has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic

America’s debt is now nearly as large as its economy. On September 2, the Congressional Budget Office announced that by the end of the 2020 fiscal year (September 30), the federal government is projected to owe debt equaling 98% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

The CBO also projects that the country’s debt is expected to be greater than its GDP by 2023. Federal debt last exceeded GDP in 1946, the year after World War 2 ended.1

Some analysts thought federal debt would reach these levels by 2030. They did not see this happening now. Then again, who could have foreseen the sudden arrival of COVID-19, let alone its economic impact? This spring brought the nation’s worst quarterly GDP contraction in almost 75 years. The CBO says federal income tax revenues are expected to fall by $280 billion this fiscal year ended September 30, leading the federal government to borrow heavily as it launched its economic stimulus program for businesses and households.1,2

All this borrowing has also expanded the federal budget deficit. The CBO projects a deficit of $3.3 trillion for fiscal year 2020, more than tripling the deficit of fiscal year 2019.1,2

The deficit could stay near this level for some time. The rebound may be slow and gradual, and the economy might need additional stimulus, implying additional federal borrowing and spending.

What’s next? Economists have raised concerns about the high levels of debt but are quick to point out that interest rates are low and are projected to remain low for some time.

This year, the Federal Reserve cut the benchmark U.S. interest rate to 0-0.25%. Other central banks around the world followed the Fed’s lead. If interest rates remain low, that can help the federal government manage the deficit. Indeed, the CBO notes that the 2020 surge in spending has not significantly altered its 10-year deficit projection.2,3

Main Street may get more financial help, and that may mean much more spending in Washington. If you’ve been following Epic Capital on YouTube, you may have seen a recent video titled The Market Needs a Shot … of stimulus where Financial Advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Edward R. Doughty dives into what a shot of stimulus could look like. While taking all this in, it is worth remembering that federal debt levels, and federal deficits, can also shrink under different economic conditions. As recently as 2008, U.S. debt amounted to 39% of GDP.

For additional insights and resources, be sure to sign up for our Weekly Market Commentary, follow our YouTube channel where we regularly post our Epic Market Minute videos, follow us on LinkedIn, or like us on Facebook. And as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a dedicated service professional at Epic Capital.

Tags: , ,

More Insights

Jul 22, 2021

The news keeps getting better for Social Security recipients. It’s now projected that benefits will increase 6.1% in 2022, up from the 4.7% forecast just two months ago. That would be the most significant increase since 1983.1,2

Jul 21, 2021

Inheriting wealth can be a burden and a blessing. Even if you have an inclination that a family member may remember you in their last will and testament, there are many facets to the process of inheritance that you may not have considered. Here are some things you may want to keep in mind if … Continue reading “Coping with an Inheritance”

Jul 19, 2021

It’s long been an aspirational target for entrepreneurs. It literally goes beyond “blue sky,” in terms of location, to a place no business has gone before: Outer Space! The name of the game is commercial space travel.

Jul 16, 2021

With all the attention given to inflation, stock prices, and job reports, it’s been easy to overlook the remarkable move in the bond market during the past few months as bond yields have fallen. The yield on the 10-year treasury closed at 1.37% on Friday, July 9, down from its 2021 high of 1.74% in … Continue reading “The Quiet Fall in Bond Yields”

Jul 14, 2021

On July 6, oil prices reached a six-year high of $76.98 a barrel. This benchmark came as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies failed to reach an agreement regarding an increase in production.1 This rise in cost follows a year in which OPEC and allies cut production amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. … Continue reading “Oil Prices Hit Six-Year High”

Insights + Resources >