Biden Is Lying About the Deficit

During his State of the Union address in March, President Joe Biden claimed that “by the end of this year, the deficit will be down to less than half what it was before I took office—the only president ever to cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion in a single year.

Since then, he’s claimed responsibility for “the largest reduction” in the federal deficit in history.

That claim, in short, is bullshit.

In fact, in the roughly 18 months since he took office, Biden’s policies have only added to America’s long-term budget deficit, which is getting worse and worse as government spending outpaces tax revenue.

What Biden is trying to do is take credit for expiring emergency spending measures. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government ran an unprecedented $3.1 trillion deficit in 2020, which fell to a still-stratospheric $2.7 trillion deficit in 2021.

This year, with COVID spending largely off the books, the deficit is expected to fall to about $1.4 trillion—though we won’t have a final figure until after the fiscal year ends on September 30.

If you eliminate outlier years like 1943, when the U.S. was embroiled in a global war, this year’s budget deficit is likely to end up as one of the largest in American history even after adjusting for inflation.

So Biden doesn’t really have anything to be bragging about.

As expiring COVID spending made our fiscal situation look better on the surface, Biden was busy adding $2.4 trillion to the long-term deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s most recent estimates.

That’s due to Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the bipartisan infrastructure package, and the $1.5 trillion federal budget that was passed in March. If the president’s multi-trillion-dollar Build Back Better plan had become law, we’d been in even worse shape. 

On the chart below, the grey columns represent the projected deficits for the next 10 years when Biden took office. The red columns are the projected deficits a year and a half into his presidency. Biden can talk about reducing the deficit all he wants, but the truth is that he’s added to it.

“The federal government’s budget is on the road to hell,” warned former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin back in 2011. That was before Presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and now Joe Biden each went on a spending binge that has made our fiscal future even less stable.

Biden wants you to focus on just a small part of the overall picture. But the deficits for the past two years and this year are a misleading indicator of America’s overall fiscal health.

And to claim that he has reduced the deficit is worse than misleading. It’s an outright lie.

Graphics by Adani Samat and Isaac Reese. Edited by Regan Taylor. Written by Eric Boehm.

Written by ReasonTV


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  1. Wait, a president lying..? Isn't that the standard since Eisenhower left office?
    Also: Do a search on how many Reason TV videos cover the Trump budget (zero) Reson TV didn't care about the Trump budget but are very concerned about the budget today…

  2. LOL, the world as we know it is ending and peeps are still whining about the deficit. You can't make this stuff up. Too bad there will be no one left to brag about how much money we saved when humanity is extinct.

  3. The only way he would be responsible for reducing the deficit is if he vetoed spending bills that had a ton of waste attatched & forced Congress to pass new bills spending less.

  4. Nothing more than deliberate spending deceptively designed to coincide with the very creative (political) math this administration has used to perpetuate the mirage and further the ignorance of a population too busy and financially desperate to look up from the grinding stone.

    And despite it all, it is the same blind ignorance that causes well meaning citizens to deliberately vote for the wrong contender.

    To many citizens, mass media's lies are what fairytales are made of and they cannot be bothered to look further before heading to the ballot box.

    You show people proof Trump never said half the things he was accused of and instead of being curious, they become angered and enraged!

    It really speaks to how incredibly easy and effective it is to simply lie and deny. Unfortunately, such decisions have cost many innocent lives as our Society has slowly become one without regard for the sanctity of innocent and helpless lives. Like a lobster slowly being boiled alive, it often seems we are too far gone to stop the bleeding. These ideologies are a Cancer upon America!

  5. Politicians are just the scum of the earth. Besides, he’s just reading whatever is put in front of him. Unethical and yet we just accept it as ‘normal’.

  6. Friendly reminder that reducing the deficit is very far from producing a budget surplus or eliminating debt. It’s a decline in the rate of over spending. This is treason, camouflaged as an achievement— and if you participate in voting, regardless of the name on your ballet, you are complicit and your wealth should be garnished to pay your bills.

  7. As Milton Friedman used to say. Don’t worry about the debt. Government can always reduce the real debt by inflation making it in real terms less even when it is increasing. What you really need to look at is government spending. That is the only thing that tells you the real cost. Increased taxes, debt or inflation are all ways to fund the expenditures so the best thing is to simply look at the expenses. But keep in mind that it is in relation to Production. If expenditures grow 2% and Production grows 3% when in reality they have shrunk. Unfortunately production has decreased since covid.

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