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Stopping America’s Federal Debt Explosion

The US Congressional Budget Office has just delivered the bad news that America's national debt is now rising faster than GDP and heading toward ratios that usually associated with Italy or Spain. Indeed, the fiscal deficit is now the most serious long-term economic problem facing US policymakers.

CAMBRIDGE – The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has just delivered the bad news that the national debt is now rising faster than GDP and heading toward ratios that we usually associate with Italy or Spain. That confirms my view that the fiscal deficit is the most serious long-term economic problem facing US policymakers.

A decade ago, the federal debt was just 35% of GDP. It is now more than double that and projected to reach 86% in 2026. But that’s just the beginning. The annual budget deficit projected for 2026 is 5% of GDP. If it stays at that level, the debt ratio would eventually rise to 125%.

Even that projection assumes that interest rates on the national debt will rise slowly, averaging less than 3.5% in 2026. But if the US debt ratio really is on the fast track to triple-digit levels, investors in the US and abroad may rightly fear that the government has lost control of the budget process.

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