Political Editors / August 25, 2016

How Big Is the U.S. Debt Bomb?

A new CBO report indicates the next 10 years could be dicey.

The Congressional Budget Office released its 10 year forecast of how much debt the U.S. is expected to accumulate by 2026 at current spending rates. And — surprise — the news isn’t good. The report relates some startling numbers, which are almost too large to comprehend. The national debt that currently stands at $19 trillion is forecasted to grow to $28 trillion in the next 10 years. That would put the nation’s debt at the terrifying level of 86% of GDP by 2026. The dramatic increase in government spending during Obama’s eight years in office shows little sign of slowing down even as the economy has continued to limp along at barely above a 1% growth rate.

Three areas of the highest government spending — accounting for 69% of the total annual budget — are Social Security, government health programs (Medicare, Medicaid and ObamaCare) and interest payments on the debt. Spending in these three areas is projected to increase to a whopping 77% of the annual budget by 2026. With the current rate of spending, other areas of the budget are expected to decrease as a portion of the whole. For example, defense spending is currently at 15% annually but is projected to drop to about 12% in a decade.

Clearly, the U.S. government has a spending problem — and it’s only getting worse. Unfortunately, neither presidential candidate seems inclined to address the issue at all, let alone offer any realistic plans for budgetary restraints. Today’s politicians are leaving the problem for tomorrow’s generations to sort out, and the bill is going to come due in a painful way.

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