Rising interest rates could add to budget woes
As the federal government closed its books on fiscal year 2018 at the end of September, interest rates were rising to levels not seen in a decade, signaling the possibility of further deterioration in the budget outlook for 2019 and beyond. The past year has been very positive for the U.S. economy but a step in the wrong direction for fiscal policy. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the deficit for fiscal year 2018 was $782 billion, or 3.8 percent of GDP, up from $666 billion, or 3.5 percent of GDP, in 2017. In 2015, the deficit was 2.4 percent of GDP. From 1968 to 2017, the federal government ran an average deficit of 3.0 percent of GDP.