President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation’s economic output by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.
In its 2011 budget, which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Feb. 1, the administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion. After looking it over, CBO said in its final analysis, released Thursday, that the president’s budget would generate a combined $9.75 trillion in deficits over the next decade.
“That level of debt is extremely problematic, particularly given the upward debt path beyond the 10-year budget window,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
For countries with debt-to-GDP ratios “above 90 percent, median growth rates fall by 1 percent, and average growth falls considerably more,” according to a recent research paper by economists Kenneth S. Rogoff of Harvard and Carmen M. Reinhart of the University of Maryland.
CBO projected the 2011 deficit will be $1.34 trillion, not much different from the administration’s estimate of $1.27 trillion. However, CBO’s estimate of the 2020 deficit at $1.25 trillion significantly exceeds the administration’s $1 trillion estimate.
The CBO and the administration expect the deficit for fiscal 2010, which ends Sept. 30, to approximate $1.5 trillion and exceed 10 percent of GDP, the first time that threshold will have been reached since World War II. Before last year’s deficit reached an eye-popping 9.9 percent of GDP, the biggest postwar deficit was 6 percent of GDP in fiscal 1983.
In addition to the free-spending fiscal policy the U.S. government will pursue, monetary policy will remain loose in the near term, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told a congressional committee Thursday.
And I thought the health care reform would be deficit neutral, and Obama’s Keynesian economic policies would have led to a major economic rebound by then. Oh, and let’s not forget that the CBO has historically underestimated its debt projections — every time.