The Long-Term Debt Outlook is Unsustainable

For Immediate Release

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Long-Term Budget Outlook today, which warns that our current high levels of debt are on course to almost double over the next 30 years, from 98 percent of GDP this year to 195 percent by 2050 under current law. You can read more in our summary blog, which will be posted here momentarily.

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

CBO’s latest projections show just how bad the debt will become if we don’t change course. Recent borrowing was necessary to fight this devastating pandemic and economic downturn, but there is no excuse to continue high rates of borrowing once the pandemic is behind us.

Sadly, politicians spent the latter half of the last decade cutting taxes and hiking spending, while also failing to address the rising costs of our health and retirement programs. This current path will lead to insolvent trust funds and unsustainable levels of debt, prompting slower income growth, growing interest payments, and increasing the risk of fiscal crisis. If we continue the recent practice of extending tax cuts and growing appropriations, the situation could be even worse.

Unfortunately, our governing process is so fractured that Congress is struggling to even avoid a government shutdown, let alone address the rising long-term debt. And neither presidential candidate has offered up a plan to deal with our long-term finances.

Of course, the focus right now should be on the current crisis. But once the pandemic is addressed and the economy is stable, the longer we wait to address our rising debt, the harder it will be to fix it.


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