Stabilizing our national debt through spending cuts or revenue increases alone would require draconian policy changes
September 01, 2013

SOURCE: PGPF projections using data from Congressional Budget Office, Updated Budget Projections: Fiscal Years 2013 to 2023, May 2013, and The 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook, September 2013.
NOTE: Spending refers to non-interest spending. The spending cuts or revenue increases are the amounts needed to close the 50-year fiscal gap and put debt on a sustainable path. The projections are based on CBO’s alternative fiscal scenario.

One commonly used measure of a country’s fiscal position is the "fiscal gap." Over the next 50 years, assuming current policies continue, the U.S. fiscal gap is projected to be 5.4% of GDP. This implies that, to stabilize the debt as a share of GDP, we would need to either immediately and permanently reduce spending by 23 percent or increase revenues by 30 percent. Such draconian policy changes can be avoided by using a more balanced approach that includes both spending cuts and revenue increases.

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Related Charts:

Where The Growth In Spending Comes From
Projected Federal Deficits
The Growth of Entitlement Programs
Federal Debt: 1990-2035
2013 Budget Plans Debt Comparison

Peter G. Peterson Foundation Chart Pack:

The PGPF chart pack illustrates that budget-making involves many competing priorities, limited resources, and complex issues. In this set of charts, we aim to frame the financial condition and fiscal outlook of the U.S. government within a broad economic, political, and demographic context.
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