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CBO projects federal debt could rise to a historic 152% of GDP by 2048

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jun 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-26 17:50:19-04

A new report released by the Congressional Budget Office projects that the federal debt could be as high as one and a half times the gross domestic product — the highest in US history — in another 30 years.

The debt is currently the highest it has been since after World War II, at 78% of the GDP, according to the report summary. The report warns that — at this rate with the current policies in place — the debt could rise to as much as 152% of the GDP by 2048.

“The prospect of large and growing debt poses substantial risks for the nation and presents policymakers with significant challenges,” CBO Director Keith Hall wrote in a statement about the budget outlook.

The report also notes that as a significant portion of the population gets older, there is an anticipated increase in spending costs for programs like Social Security and Medicare.

“Projected deficits rise over the next three decades because spending growth — particularly for Social Security, the major health care programs, and interest on the government’s debt — is expected to outpace growth in revenues,” Hall’s statement said.

“By 2048, as interest rates rise from their currently low levels and as debt accumulates, the federal government’s net interest costs are projected to more than double as a percentage of GDP and to reach record levels. Those costs would equal spending for Social Security, currently the largest federal program, by 2048,” it continued.

The projections come several months after the GOP passed a massive tax bill, which the report also adds has “significant direct effects on CBO’s budget projections.”