The Student Loan Giveaway Already Has Been Spent

The Feds released the numbers on federal finances for FY 2022 on Friday. The numbers are in the Monthly Treasury Statement. No doubt you are gasping for the results of Year Two of the Biden Interregnum. Of course, I have published all the numbers on my

First, the Deficit. President Biden has proudly announced that he has cut the deficit in half. So he has, from $2.78 trillion in 2021 all the way down to $1.38 trillion in 2022. Here's what that looks like:

So now we are not quite down to the last deficit before COVID.  Let's Go Brandon!

The federal debt, of course, is on the ever increase, from $28.4 trillion at the end of FY 2021 to $30.9 trillion at the end of FY 2022. That's 127 percent of GDP, higher than the end of World War II.

But hey! We've been fighting World War Greedy Bankers and World War COVID for the last 20 years! Let's Go Brandon!

I find the trend in federal debt interesting. As you can see, after World War II the ruling class all got together and decided to bring the debt down as a percent of GDP. That downward trend ended when the Best and Brightest decided to bask in the glory of the Great Society. Debt started upward in the 1980s when Reagan cut taxes while the Democrats refused to cut spending. But debt leveled out in the era of Bill Clinton and the New Democrats before exploding in the real-estate and credit system meltdown of 2008.

Really, the debt explosion since 1980 reflects the fundamental conflict between Democrats and Republicans on the question of how much spending is enough. How much? Well, the history of federal spending since 1900 tells a story.

I don't know what you think about it, but my belief is that federal spending is not likely to go much above 20 percent of GDP -- not without a fight. I don't know why that is; I suspect the reason is locked in the human unconscious and our simian instincts. You can see that federal spending started up under the benevolent supervision of FDR in the 1930s, and then, ever since, it has seemed to be slowly converging on 20 percent of GDP.

But I could be wrong. Obviously President Biden and his lefty supporters think that we are on the way to a much bigger federal government that will heroically save us from climate change and systemic racism with a whole array of wise programs that experts agree will save us from a CO2 disaster and from racist armed insurrection triggered by far-right conspiracy theorists propagating MDM -- that's misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation to you. But don't worry, those far-right conspiracy theorists will be winkled out by the heroic Feds at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

And here is something that nobody has thought about. Suppose the planet's plants rather like the increase in CO2? Suppose (in a reversal of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening) they all get together to punish the experts and scientists that are telling us to go to a carbon-free economy? We assume that plants are dumber than dumb animals, but are they really? Do we want to conduct an experiment in plant starvation, which is what carbon-free means? Hey plants! Don't mess with me! I'm on your side!

Here's a little item of federal spending that you may not yet know about. I discovered it while I was checking my numbers, to make sure I hadn't made a mistake in updating the database at The update is a bit complicated, because I estimate "subfunction" spending based on the latest budget. But I almost panicked when I saw that education spending at $692 billion was way higher than the budgeted amount of $281 billion in the FY2023 budget. What was going on?

Nothing really. In the September 2022 Monthly Treasury Statement there is a $406 billion item for "Federal Direct Student Loans." As Lina Lamont might have said: See, it says so, right there on line 174 of Table 5. Outlays in mts0922.xlsx. Here's the chart.

Really? An extra $400 billion? Just stuffed into Federal spending as a polite sendoff for FY2022? Not even in the budget? Not even appropriated by Congress? Why, if it hadn't been for that, the federal deficit for FY2022 would have been under one trillion! What a magnificent issue that would have been for Democrats running for election in 2024!

But I understand President Biden's sense of urgency. Hey, never mind climate change and monster hurricanes pummeling Florida. Never mind the white oppressors working their vile racist evil on helpless oppressed peoples. First things first! Relieve the agony of Starbucks baristas, whose lives are being crushed by the anvil of student debt, an injustice that, experts agree, will one day rank right up there with the evil of negro slavery.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

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