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CBO: Growing debt burden will face next President

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CBO: Growing debt burden will face next President

Why isn’t this getting more attention in the Presidential race?

The Congressional Budget Office released projections today that show the federal deficit rising this year for the first time since 2009 and the government sinking deeper into debt over the next decade, a problem that non-profit fiscal watchdog The Concord Coalition says every candidate for federal office should address in this year's political campaigns.

"Budget projections have turned a corner again, and this time it's for the worse," said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. "Today's CBO numbers clearly demonstrate that recent legislation combined with the relentless fiscal pressures of an aging population add up to steadily rising debt from this point forward. Each of the presidential candidates should explain to voters how they would work to reverse this dynamic or admit that they support the 'Do Nothing' plan." 

The budget office suggests such pressures will lead to the debt rising to 155% of GDP over the next 30 years.

A summary of CBO's annual Budget and Economic Outlook, released this morning, projects that under current law federal deficits -- which have dropped in recent years -- will begin rising again this year to $544 billion (2.9% of GDP) and could reach $1.4 trillion by 2026 (4.9% of GDP).

The deficits projected over the next decade would add a total of $9.4 trillion to the nation's debt. Compared to the CBO's last outlook, the projected deficit total over the same 10-year period has grown by $1.5 trillion.

The report takes into account legislation that Congress passed late last year, including tax legislation that will drain federal revenue by $425 billion and another $324 billion in spending increases that add to deficits over the next 10 years. Lawmakers made no real effort to offset the deficit increases.

"Unfortunately, the short-term drops in the deficit in recent years have created a sense of complacency in Washington over further borrowing," Bixby said. "While the CBO each year warns of fundamental problems in the federal budget, it is particularly distressing to see the confirmation in today's report of how much elected officials worsened the fiscal picture with legislation approved just weeks ago."

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