Should Investors Worry About the Growing Deficit?

November 15, 2019

Americans have seen tax cuts and strong historical returns across asset classes since the Global Financial Crisis. However, though the general populace has been flourishing, the decrease in revenue flowing to the government and an increase in defense spending have contributed to the deficit increasing each year since 2016. Is the increased deficit a systemic risk or simply a side effect of a low rate environment?

This week’s chart of the week shows the United States’ deficit since 2007 in absolute terms as well as a percentage of GDP. The deficit spiked during the financial crisis at $1.4 trillion dollars as the administration took action to provide stimulus to the nation while in a recession. Shortly after, the deficit began decreasing as the economy moved towards recovery. More recently, the deficit has been increasing and is projected to reach $1.1 trillion dollars in 2020, an amount not seen since 2012. On an absolute basis, the deficit has been moving upward, but has this been offset by an increase in GDP? The blue line on the graph shows the deficit as a percentage of GDP. This metric has also been steadily increasing since 2016, though it is still much lower than during the Great Recession.

One area of potential concern is that during past expansions the deficit was decreasing or low, while now the deficit is moving in the opposite direction. If a recession were to occur, the government would have to borrow even more to stimulate the economy, pushing the debt level even higher and possibly raising concerns about the U.S. financial system. On the other hand, a theory of economic thought called Modern Monetary Theory (“MMT”) has gained traction due to the proposal of large increases in government spending by left-wing presidential candidates. MMT states that a country that prints its own currency does not have to worry much about debt as it can pay it off simply by adding to the monetary supply. Thus, the thought is that the only target for central banks should be inflation.

In all, deficit spending is a crucial means of financing public programs and stimulating the economy, no matter which economic viewpoint is applied. The U.S. deficit has ebbed and flowed over time and will continue to be a point of political contention for years to come.

Print PDF > Should Investors Worry About the Growing Deficit?

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

Related Content

04.16.2024

The Banks’ Real Estate Problem

First quarter earnings season is getting started, with the largest banks reporting first. In the wake of last year’s regional…

04.11.2024

First to Cut: The Fed or the ECB?

Based on implied probabilities derived from options markets, investors are currently forecasting an 82% chance that the European Central Bank…

04.10.2024

1Q 2024 Market Insights Webinar

— LIVE WEBINAR APRIL 25 — Please join Marquette’s research team for our 1Q 2024…

04.01.2024

Sweet and High Up

Chocolate eggs and bunnies may have appeared more expensive to shoppers this Easter weekend, as the price of cocoa futures…

03.27.2024

The Crystal Ball Has Clouded

Last month, Marquette published a Chart of the Week that highlighted the aberrational length of the current…

03.26.2024

Assessing the Likelihood of a Recession and Understanding the Impact on Portfolios

Is a recession coming to the U.S.? It’s a question that has been asked since 2022, as the Fed’s rapid…

More articles

Subscribe to Research Email Alerts

Research Email Alert Subscription

Research alerts keep you updated on our latest research publications. Simply enter your contact information, choose the research alerts you would like to receive and click Subscribe. Alerts will be sent as research is published.

We respect your privacy. We will never share or sell your information.

Thank You

We appreciate your interest in Marquette Associates.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact us directly and we will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.

Contact Us >