It is mildly good news that our federal government expects to run a slightly lower deficit this fiscal year. But the overall deficit picture is still miserable.
It is now projected that the United States will spend "only" $1.28 trillion more this year than our too-high taxes will bring in. Earlier projections had put this year's deficit at about $1.4 trillion.
But it's still disturbing that Washington is spending much, much more than our taxes produce, adding to our staggering national debt. In fact, this year's deficit remains the third highest on record -- exceeded in size only by the deficits of the previous two years.
And our record national debt -- the cumulative total of all our deficits from this year and years past -- sits at $14.6 trillion!
If that doesn't trouble you, consider the fact that we're unproductively paying hundreds of billions of dollars in interest on the debt each year.
Some see higher taxes as a way to pay down the debt, but previous tax increases have often prompted Congress to spend the new revenue and come asking for more. That's plainly no solution to our debt.
The obvious answer is to cut wasteful federal spending. Whether that message will get through to Washington anytime soon, though, is sadly uncertain.