Each year, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office produces a long-term forecast for budget deficits, national debt, revenue, and government spending. Here’s what you need to know about where we are headed. See a more detailed analysis here.
Without changes, the debt will rise without end.
- National debt held by the public will nearly double from the current level of 77 percent of the economy to 150 percent by 2047. Tweet
- Debt will exceed the size of the economy by 2033 and surpass the all-time record of 106 percent of the economy by 2035. Tweet
- The situation could get even worse if new policies like tax cuts are enacted that increase deficits beyond what is currently forecast.
- Waiting to fix the debt will make the necessary changes more painful.
Autopilot spending will drive debt upwards, even though the rest of the budget will shrink.
- An aging population and rising health care costs per person will increase spending on Social Security and federal health care programs like Medicare.
- Interest on the debt will be the fastest growing part of the federal budget.
- Spending on Social Security, health care, and interest will nearly double by 2047 compared to the economy and drive the growth in total spending. They are essentially on autopilot since no annual approval by Congress is required.
- Meanwhile, spending on the rest of the budget will decline.
Growing debt is a real threat to the economy and our future.
- The economy will grow more slowly if debt continues to rise. Average income will be $4,000 less in 30 years with rising debt compared to if debt were on a stable path.
- Growing interest payments will crowd out spending on investments in education, infrastructure, and basic research that can boost economic growth and standard of living.
- Growing debt also increases the risk of a fiscal crisis down the road and leaves the country less able to respond to crises that may arise.