The guest commentary below was written by written by Daniel Lacalle. This piece does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hedgeye.
The U.S. federal government published a December deficit of $129 billion, up 52% from the previous year. The private sector recession is clear as expenses continue to rise while tax receipts decline. If we look at the period between October and December 2023, the deficit ballooned to a staggering $510 billion.
You may remember that the Biden administration expected a significant deficit reduction from its tax increases and the expected benefits of its Inflation Reduction Act.
What Americans got was a massive deficit and persistent inflation. According to Moody’s chief economist, Mark Zendi, the entire disinflation process seen in the past years comes from exogenous factors such as “fading fallout from the global pandemic on global supply chains and labor markets, and the Russian War in Ukraine and the impact on oil, food, and other commodity prices.” The complete disinflation trend follows the slump in money supply (M2), but the Consumer Price Index (CPI) should have fallen faster if deficit spending, which means more consumption of newly created currency, would have been under control. December was disappointing and higher than it should have been.
The United States annual CPI (+3.4%) came above estimates, proving that the recent bounce in money supply and rising deficit spending continue to erode the purchasing power of the currency and that the base effect generated too much optimism in the past two prints. Most prices rose in December, and only four items fell. In fact, despite a large decline in energy prices, annual services (+5.3%), shelter (+6.2%), and transportation services (+9.7%) continue to show the extent of the inflation problem.
The massive deficit means more taxes, more inflation, and lower growth in the future.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects an unsustainable path that still leaves a 5.0% deficit by 2027, growing every year to reach a massive 10.0% of GDP in 2053 due to a much faster growth in spending than in revenues. The enormous increase in debt will also lead to extremely poor growth, with real GDP rising much slower throughout the 2023–2053 period than it has, on average, “over the past 30 years.”
Deficits are not a tool for growth; they are tools for stagnation.
Deficits mean that the currency’s purchasing power will continue to vanish with money printing and that the real disposable income of Americans will be demolished with a combination of higher taxes and a weaker real value of their wages and deposit savings.
We must remember that, in Biden’s administration’s own estimates, the accumulated deficit will reach $14 trillion in the period to 2032.
This unsustainable level of fiscal irresponsibility will also lead to more massive money printing. The Federal Reserve will have to lead with larger federal fiscal imbalances than seen in crisis times, even considering estimates that assume no recession or crisis. So, if a crisis hits, the situation will simply explode.
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ABOUT DANIEL LACALLE
This is a Hedgeye guest contributor piece written by Daniel Lacalle and reposted from his website. Daniel Lacalle (Madrid, 1967). PhD Economist and Fund Manager. Author of bestsellers "Life In The Financial Markets" and "The Energy World Is Flat" as well as "Escape From the Central Bank Trap." Daniel Lacalle (Madrid, 1967). PhD Economist and Fund Manager. Frequent collaborator with CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, Hedgeye, Epoch Times, Mises Institute, BBN Times, Wall Street Journal, El Español, A3 Media and 13TV. Holds the CIIA (Certified International Investment Analyst) and masters in Economic Investigation and IESE. View all posts by Lacalle on his website.
Twitter handle: @dlacalle_IA
LinkedIn: Daniel Lacalle