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Our Latest Look at the Nation’s Long-Term Fiscal Outlook

September 14, 2015

The nation’s fiscal outlook has improved significantly since 2010, but it remains challenging, according to our new long-term budget projections

Under current budget policies, we project that the ratio of debt to gross domestic product — which was 74...

In Focus: Debt-to-GDP Ratio Virtually Flat Until Early 2020s, Then Rises Gradually

Federal Debt Limit’s Harmful, Report Shows

July 16, 2015

With the federal government on course to hit the legal debt limit this year, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) study shows that the limit is harmful.  That’s consistent with our view, briefly here and in detail...

Budget Process - Money Puzzle Pieces

CBO Contradicts Itself — Long-Term Budget Picture Improving, Not Worsening

June 17, 2015

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) new report on the budget picture opens by saying, “The long-term outlook for the federal budget has worsened dramatically over the past several years,” blaming the Great Recession and the steps taken to address it.  But CBO’s own data, in that very report, show that’s not the case.  The CBO data that allow an apples-to-apples comparison of its new...

Long-Term Budget Outlook Has Improved

CBO’s Long-Term Outlook: What to Look For

June 16, 2015

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release its newest long-term budget outlook today and, if it’s like last year’s, you should keep two points in mind.  First, CBO generally presents two scenarios: an “extended baseline” and an “alternative fiscal scenario” (AFS).  Focus more on the extended baseline because it represents a continuation of current laws and policies while the AFS...

Debt-to-GDP Ratio Virtually Flat Until Early 2020s, Then Rises Gradually

House, Senate Budget Plans Each Get 69 Percent of Cuts From Low-Income Programs

March 23, 2015

The 2016 budget resolutions that the House and Senate will consider this week each cut more than $3 trillion over ten years (2016-2025) from programs that serve people of limited means — representing 69 percent of their cuts to non-defense spending, as we explain in a new analysis...

Setting the Record Straight on Student Loan Costs

February 18, 2015

President Obama’s 2016 budget estimates that the outstanding portfolio of federal student loans will be $21.8 billion less profitable than previously thought over the loans’ lifetime.  This reestimate doesn’t mean that the program “had a $21.8 billion shortfall last year,” as a...

History Suggests Ryan Block Grant Would Be Susceptible to Cuts

July 28, 2014

At the heart of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new poverty plan is a block grant — called the “Opportunity Grant” — that would consolidate 11 disparate low-income programs, the largest being SNAP (formerly food stamps).  Ryan says that the block grant would maintain the same overall funding as the current programs...

Balanced Budget Amendment Likely to Harm the Economy

July 16, 2014

A number of states may soon call for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to require that the federal budget be balanced every year.  But a convention would pose serious risks, and a balanced budget requirement would be a highly ill-advised way to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems.  It would threaten...

Budget Should Show Federal Loan Programs’ Actual Cost

May 27, 2014

A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report compared the cost of three federal loan programs under standard accounting rules and a “fair-value” alternative, which imposes an added cost based on the extra amount that private lenders would charge if they issued the loans or loan guarantees.  We view...

Ryan Budget Gets 69 Percent of Its Cuts From Low-Income Programs [Updated]

April 10, 2014

Some 69 percent of the cuts in House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget would come from programs that serve people of limited means, our recently released report finds.  These disproportionate cuts — which likely account for at least $3.3 trillion of the budget’s $4.8 trillion in non-defense cuts over the next...