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Happy ‘Deficit Day’

You are familiar with the Tax Foundation’s “Tax Freedom Day” — the date by which the average American has earned enough to pay his taxes for the year. This year Tax Freedom Day finally arrived on April 17th. To borrow a phrase from President Obama, let me be clear, on average Americans, must use every penny they earned from January 1st until April 17th to pay their taxes for the year.

One of my favorite economists, Professor Antony Davies, and his colleague, James R. Harrigan, suggest we also celebrate what they call “Deficit Day” to focus Americans’ attention on the on fact that we are headed to bankruptcy. They explain it all in an excellent article they published at Real Clear Markets.

“Deficit Day” is the date by which federal tax revenues run dry and the federal government begins adding even more debt on top of our exploding $16 Trillion national debt. This year Deficit Day falls on September 10th.

According to Davies and Harrigan, everything the government spends from now until the end of the year will be borrowed. They say we haven’t seen a balanced budget since the Eisenhower administration:

Conventional wisdom holds that the Clinton administration ran surpluses. But this is a twisting of the facts. It is true that the debt held by the public-which excludes money the government borrows from the Social Security trust fund-declined by $433 billion from 1997 to 2001. But, over those same years, the government borrowed $827 billion from the Social Security trust fund. In other words, the only way to claim that the Clinton administration ran surpluses is to admit that the government has no intention of paying back that $827 billion it borrowed from Social Security.

You wouldn’t believe how broke the U.S. already is. We simply cannot continue to tax and spend and borrow as we have. I have previously written that Professor Davies calculates the debt and unfunded obligations of the federal government to total $64.09 trillion. An amount greater than the “economic output of the entire planet.” That’s right, the entire planet.

If current trends continue, the U.S. will become operationally bankrupt in 2037 and will be actually bankrupt in 2047.

Happy Deficit Day.

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