Are you ready for a $30-trillion national debt?
The Congressional Budget Office is warning that unless measures are taken to get the federal budget under control, the national debt will soar to $30 trillion by 2026.
That catastrophic number is the result of the budget deal agreed to by Obama and the GOP late last year. The combination of steep spending increases along with tax cuts will grow the federal deficit back to a trillion dollars a year by 2022 – and that's if there's no recession between now and then.
Another culprit: Obamacare.
Analysts said Obamacare will chase more workers out of the labor force over the next five years, adding pressure to an economy still struggling to spring to life more than seven years into the Obama recovery.
The Affordable Care Act itself is still struggling to attract a customer base, the CBO said, lowering its estimate for the number of people who will sign up for the exchanges from 21 million to 13 million — a drop of nearly 40 percent in projections. Customers collecting taxpayer subsidies this year will be 11 million, down from the 15 million the CBO projected a year ago.
The grim news comes with less than a year left for President Obama to put the law on firmer footing as he seeks to head off what is likely to be a last effort at repealing the act after November’s elections.
The economic front is somewhat brighter for Mr. Obama, who seven years into the recovery will finally see significant sustained growth of 2.5 percent this year and 2.6 percent next year, the CBO said.
That will be followed by a cooling off, with growth dropping below 2 percent in 2019 and 2020. The economic gains will continue to go disproportionately to the wealthy, helping boost income tax revenue but limiting payroll taxes, which will put even more pressure on the entitlement programs that are driving up deficits.
The biggest fiscal dent, however, was made late last year when Mr. Obama and the Republican-run Congress struck a deal. The president won significant spending hikes, and Republicans insisted on a new round of special tax breaks that, combined, reversed years of progress and added nearly $750 billion to projected deficits over the next decade.
Congressional leaders and the president have refused to address the debt, largely because the American people don't really care. The issue is far down the list of pressing concerns the public thinks we need to address. This guarantees that politicians will continue to spend money like a drunk sailor for the foreseeable future.
But eventually, reality will intrude, and we'll be confronted with a civilization-destroying calamity. Some believe that it will happen sooner rather than later, as conditions in 2016 threaten to ripen into a full-blown worldwide meltdown far worse than the one that occurred in 2008.