BY BENJAMIN FEARNOW for www.newsweek.com
U.S. government spending on the interest costs of rising federal debt will soon force lawmakers to choose between competing spending on health care and education programs, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Interest costs on the 2017 federal debt of $263 billion accounted for 6.6 percent of all U.S. government spending and a 1.4 percent share of the country’s GDP. But the Congressional Budget Office predicts interest spending will spike to $915 billion by 2028, or about 3.1 percent of the gross domestic product. Guided by Congress’ federal spending boost of $300 billion earlier this year and the Trump administration’s individual income tax cuts, a divided Congress will soon be forced to spend more on interest than Medicaid, national defense and a host of other government programs.
Analysts note the $1.5 trillion tax cut enacted last year and the two-year budget agreement to boost federal spending by $300 billion is pushing up deficits. But at the same time, interest expenses on the federal debt are climbing as bond yields rise.
By 2020, the government is on track to spend more on interest than it spends on Medicaid, and by 2023, more than on national defense, and by 2025, the government will spend more on debt interest than every nondefense discretionary federal program combined.