The CBO Issues Most Dire Warning On US Budget Yet, Warns US Debt Will “Swiftly Be Pushed To Unsustainable Levels”
by Tyler Durden
In its just released Long-Term Budget Outlook, the CBO has come out with the most dire warnings on the US projected debt to date. In summary, the healthcare spending and the Social Security will consume an increasing portion of the budget and will push the national debt up sharply unless lawmakers act, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf warned. “CBO projects, the aging of the population and the rising cost of health care will cause spending on the major mandatory health care programs and Social Security to grow from roughly 10 percent of GDP today to about 16 percent of GDP 25 years from now if current laws are not changed.” While this does not sound too dramatic, the way it is attained is with the following ludicrous assumptions (which Paul Krugman would certainly call perfectly normal): “government spending on everything other than the major mandatory health care programs, Social Security, and interest on federal debt—activities such as national defense and a wide variety of domestic programs—would decline to the lowest percentage of GDP since before World War II.” Good luck with that. In the more realistic, alternative fiscal scenario, the CBO observes, that “with significantly lower revenues and higher outlays, debt would reach 87 percent of GDP by 2020, CBO projects. After that, the growing imbalance between revenues and noninterest spending, combined with spiraling interest payments, would swiftly push debt to unsustainable levels. Debt as a share of GDP would exceed its historical peak of 109 percent by 2025 and would reach 185 percent in 2035.” The CBO’s conclusion is a nightmare to each and every hard-core Keynesian fundamentalist (you know who you are): “the sooner that long-term changes to spending and revenues are agreed on, and the sooner they are carried out once the economic weakness ends, the smaller will be the damage to the economy from growing federal debt. Earlier action would require more sacrifices by earlier generations to benefit future generations, but it would also permit smaller or more gradual changes and would give people more time to adjust to them.”
The summary critical presentation from the Congressional Budget Office (the full one with a lot of useless charts can be found here). This is very apropos as the US will likely never againhave a budget again so long as the current administration is in place.
The Long-Term Budget Outlook