Every few months, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides an assessment of the budget and economic outlook. And each time the budget numbers are bleak.
The new numbers are much the same, except worse. They predict that the federal budget deficit will hit the $1 trillion mark by 2023 -- a year earlier than expected last year. National debt held by the public will grow from 77 percent today to 89 percent in 2027 -- that is more than twice the 50-year debt average of less than 40 percent.
And debt will keep climbing to heights never seen before.
CBO also warns that “high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences for the budget and the nation.” Specifically, CBO raises concerns about lower wages, having less flexibility to deal with unforeseen challenges such as a recession, and the increased likelihood of a fiscal crisis.
Sadly, too many in Washington have become numb to the forecasts and warnings. There’s been more talk about the size of crowds at political events than the size of our growing national debt.
We can't afford for Congress and President Trump to ignore this problem. As we said in a statement today:
The Congressional Budget Office’s report today shows a dangerous debt picture for the United States.
With debt already higher than at any time in history since World War II, these projections show it rising even further. CBO projects gross debt to grow from almost $20 trillion to $30 trillion by the end of 2027; debt held by the public to grow from above $14 trillion to almost $25 trillion; and debt held by the public as a share of the economy to grow from 77 percent to 89 percent.
As CBO’s latest numbers show, trillion-dollar deficits will return in 6 years and continue to increase after that as far as the eye can see.
CBO’s math is clear and undeniable—the debt is growing faster than the economy and on an unsustainable path. We cannot continue this trend forever. Policymakers should not go into debt denial with hopes that unrealistic growth and rosy projections will save the day. Ignoring these fiscal facts is like ignoring a coming storm. Our nation will be drowning under red ink if policymakers do not reverse course now.