Many Americans will be receiving their $1,200 stimulus checks from the IRS this week in order to help lighten the burden of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. These checks come as a part of the recently passed $2.2 trillion CARES Act, the largest economic relief bill in American history. With this bill, the national debt now sits at $24 trillion, topping the previous record set during the Obama administration (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-set-to-preside-spending-deficits-coronavirus).
Unfortunately, deficit spending is not a new concept for the federal government. The national debt has seen an exponential increase over the past century. A link within the article compared the CARES Act to several other notable government spending sprees. Below is a quick overview detailing some of the larger examples of government spending throughout history.
1933 - The New Deal (FDR): $41.7 billion then/$856.1 billion adjusted for inflation
1948 - The Marshall Plan (Truman): $13.3 billion then/$144 billion adjust for inflation
1964 - The Great Society (LBJ): $22 trillion over the past 50+ years (according to the Heritage Foundation)
2008 - Great Recession Laws (Bush II/Obama): $700 billion and $831 billion then/$1.8 trillion adjusted for inflation
While the Trump administration shouldn't shoulder the entirety of the blame, especially considering the current circumstances, they also haven't worked to decrease the deficit either. Before the current pandemic the Trump administration prioritized cutting taxes and significantly increasing military spending. This theme has been consistent among executives over the past few decades regardless of political party, as both Republicans and Democrats have largely outspent federal tax revenues while focusing on different priorities. Progressives on the left have called for major tax hikes to help cover even greater expenditures including The Green New Deal, while conservatives have advocated for more tax cuts without cutting the respective programs to adjust for the cost. Ultimately the American people will be affected the most by this lack of fiscal responsibility as few in leadership have found (or advocated for) effective ways to curb spending and repay the debt. Is there a long term answer or has the whole been dug too deep to recover?
(Courtesy of https://www.debtconsolidation.com/us-debt-presidents/)