Washington (CNN)Here's a headline you might have missed amid the onslaught of news about Julian Assange, William Barr, Nipsey Hussle and Michael Avenatti: "US budget deficit running 15% higher than a year ago."
SURPRISE! The budget deficit is soaring!
The story cites this monthly report from the Treasury Department detailing these few eye-popping facts:
1) The budget deficit grew $146.9 billion in the month of March alone.
2) The deficit for this fiscal year is now $691 billion -- a 15% increase (or roughly $100 billion) from where we were at this point in 2018.
3) Treasury is projecting that the deficit will surge over $1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year in September.
To which, our politicians have responded: :/
"Nobody cares," White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly told a group of Republicans who wondered why President Donald Trump wasn't going to mention the ever-growing deficit in his State of the Union Speech earlier this year.
That's a massive change from where Trump, Mulvaney and the rest of the Republican Party were on the dangers of debt and deficits just a few years ago. Here's Trump talking to Sean Hannity in 2016 about how easily he will balance the federal budget:
"It can be done. ... It will take place and it will go relatively quickly. ... If you have the right people, like, in the agencies and the various people that do the balancing ... you can cut the numbers by two pennies and three pennies and balance a budget quickly and have a stronger and better country."
So, well, it hasn't turned out that way. At all.
Here's the kicker: Trump isn't likely to pay a price -- either within his own party or the broader electorate -- for the soaring deficit. Less than 50% of people in a January Pew poll said that lowering the federal deficit should be a top priority of Washington policymakers. That's down, rapidly, from 72% who said the same earlier this decade.
The Point: Deficits have lost their salience as a political issue. But that doesn't mean they are going away. And, at some point, our political (and economic) systems will be forced to deal with our growing mountain of debt.