(The Center Square) – Budget groups continue to release dire forecasts for the explosive growth of the U.S. national debt.
The U.S. Treasury reported a $1.4 trillion deficit so far nine months into fiscal year 2023.
“Three-quarters into the fiscal year and we’re borrowing an astounding $5.1 billion per day,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “If that isn’t a sign that we need a wake-up call, maybe it should be the fact that the deficit for this fiscal year is now larger than all of last year’s deficit – and there’s still three months to go.
The U.S. Congressional Budget Office released a report earlier this year projecting the national debt will be nearly twice as large as the U.S. economy in 30 years.
“By the end of 2023, federal debt held by the public equals 98 percent of GDP,” the report said. “Debt then rises in relation to GDP: It surpasses its historical high in 2029, when it reaches 107 percent of GDP, and climbs to 181 percent of GDP by 2053.”
CBO also reports that deficits will likely rise as well.
“In CBO’s projections, the deficit equals 5.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2023, declines to 5.0 percent by 2027, and then grows in every year, reaching 10.0 percent of GDP in 2053,” the report said. “Over the past century, that level has been exceeded only during World War II and the coronavirus pandemic.”
As The Center Square previously reported, the cost of interest payments on the national debt will exceed the cost of U.S. funding for national defense within a decade.
In fact, federal spending trends show interest payments on the national debt will soon be the largest expense of the federal government.
The CRFB said in a report released last week that “by 2051, spending on interest will be the single largest line item in the federal budget, surpassing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and all other mandatory and discretionary spending programs.”
Lawmakers have raised concerns about this issue but a dramatic cut in spending to pay down the debt is far from getting traction.
“The federal government borrowed $2 trillion over the past 12 months. That’s $63,000 per second,” said Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz. “It’s delusional to think our debt doesn’t matter when America’s working class suffers the consequences.”
MacGuineas also said that the trust funds for Medicare, Social Security and highways “will face insolvency” within a decade.
“With unsustainable borrowing, rising interest costs, and looming insolvency of the trust funds that support some of our nation’s most valued programs, the outlook for our fiscal health has been in decline for far too long,” she said. “We need to turn the tide and work towards further reducing deficits and putting the national debt on a downward, sustainable course.”
For more from Budget & Tax News.
For more public policy from The Heartland Institute.