The Long-Term Debt is Out of Control

Jun 25, 2019 | Budgets & Projections

For Immediate Release

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Long-Term Budget Outlook Tuesday, which warns that today’s high levels of debt are on course to nearly double as a share of the economy over the next 30 years, from 78 percent of GDP today to 144 percent by 2049 under current law. Debt would rise to 219 percent of GDP by 2049 if various expiring policies are continued.

The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

Another year has passed and Congress has done nothing to address our rapidly rising debt, which will reach a new record as soon as 2030 and double as soon as 2040.

Even under current law, debt will grow faster than the economy indefinitely, and we will spend more on interest payments on the debt than the entire discretionary budget by 2046. Imagine spending more to service past decisions than to protect the country and invest in the future.

CBO estimates that fixing the debt would increase income per person by $5,500 a year, lower interest rates, increase space for public investment, and reduce the risk of a fiscal crisis.

But instead of taking advantage of our economic strength to slow rising debt, policymakers have made it worse by cutting taxes and increasing spending. And they seem intent on continuing their borrowing binge. Each day seems to bring a new trillion-dollar idea but few ways to pay for the cost.

Enough is enough. Policymakers need to start taking our long-term budget outlook seriously. If they don’t, their children and grandchildren will have to.

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See our quick summary of CBO’s Long-Term Budget Outlook here.

For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at newton@crfb.org.