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Trump’s Budget Proposal: Will an Oversize Deficit ‘Erode America’s Credit’?

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President Donald Trump will ask Congress for an additional $8.6 billion for his promised border wall as he unveils his budget Monday, raising the spectre of another government shutdown.

The last time Trump asked Congress to fund the U.S.-Mexico border wall whose construction was a prominent element of his presidential campaign, the result was a five-week government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.

Referring to the shutdown that ended when the government reopened in January without funding for the wall, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said: “The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again.”

Aside from the prospect of a shutdown, a new budget that continues to expand the deficit could have other effects on the U.S. economy and, by extension, the commercial real estate industry to which it is so closely tied.

The federal budget deficit reached $319 billion in the first three months of the current fiscal year, which began in October ‒ pushing up the deficit 42% over the same period the previous year.

The budget Trump plans to propose wouldn’t balance for at least 15 years, according to administration estimates, due in part to declining revenue from the corporate tax cuts passed in 2017. The timeline is 50% longer than the “Republican orthodoxy” that sought to eliminate the federal deficit within a decade.

Indeed, federal debt is now on track for levels not seen since the World War II era, with total federal debt held by the public increasing to $16 trillion in 2018, or 78% of GDP, Bloomberg reported this week.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that the budget deficit will surpass the 1946 record of 106% within 30 years.

The danger? Current and former Federal Reserve officials, Bloomberg said, are concerned that such an oversize budget “will eventually erode America’s credit.”

And a lower ranking among the world’s economies could, of course, extend to the perceived value of U.S. real estate assets.

To continue attracting domestic and foreign investors from around the world, U.S. real estate must continue to hold out the promise of yield and stability.

In addition, the White House’s budget proposal may be based on unsupported assumptions about the upward trajectory of the U.S. economy.

“The fiscal year 2020 budget projects much stronger growth than many independent forecasters, who see the economy slowing this year as the effects of those fiscal stimulus measures wane,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

Related stories:

How The Government Shutdown Is Affecting CRE

How’s He Doing? CRE Pros Rate Trump

Fed Pause on Rate Hikes Explained

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Alex Veksler has 16 years of finance, data analysis and project management experience. He is a former vice president at Morgan Stanley, where he worked on product control of equity and fixed-income derivatives products as well as various projects involving finance and technology, such as revamping risk attribution and balance-sheet systems for profits and losses. Alex has previously worked at hedge funds, most recently as a director at Exigent Capital. He has a bachelor’s in computer science from Yeshiva University and an MBA from New York University.

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