As Americans deal with the highest inflation in decades, President Biden has declared that combating rising costs is a priority for his administration. Lately, he has cited one policy in particular as an inflation-fighting tool: shrinking the nation’s budget deficit.
“Bringing down the deficit is one way to ease inflationary pressures in an economy,” Mr. Biden said this month. “We reduce federal borrowing and we help combat inflation.”
The federal budget deficit — the gap between what the government spends and the tax revenue it takes in — remains large. But Mr. Biden has pointed out that it shrank by $350 billion during his first year in office and is expected to fall more than $1 trillion by October, the end of this federal budget year.
Rather than stemming from any recent budget measures by his administration or Congress, the deficit reduction largely reflects the rise in tax receipts from strong economic growth and the winding down of pandemic-era emergency programs, like expanded unemployment insurance. And for many experts, that — plus the reality that deficits have a complicated relationship with inflation — makes the budget gap a surprising talking point.