Several weeks ago, when looking at the US budget data for the recently concluded (Sept 30) Fiscal 2018, we noted that the most troubling observation in the latest data (besides the growing deficit, rising spending and shrinking tax revenues) was that the government paid $523 billion in total interest in fiscal 2018, the highest on record.
Alas, this is just the start, because to fund the fiscal stimulus that has already been enacted, US deficit spending is only set to soar higher, with the resulting interest expense rising above $600 billion in 2019.
But the truly scary nature of this number is in the context of all other G-7 nations: as the following chart from Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok reveals, spending on interest expense in the US is now just about $1.5 billion per day, which at current interest rates is orders of magnitude higher than what all other G-7 developed nations spend on interest.
That too is just the start: as Slok notes, “US government last year on average paid $1.5bn each day in interest payments, and this is rising toward $2bn per day over the coming years.”
And that’s with rates still relatively low due to the maturity schedule of US debt, which however is only set to rise as existing debt issued over the past decade during record low rates matures and is replaced with debt yielding far more.
How long before this becomes the most politically sensitive economic topic, and how long before the president threatens to fire Powell unless he, too, starts monetizing the debt?