The Fiscal Outlook in a Period of Policy Uncertainty

Research Report

The Fiscal Outlook in a Period of Policy Uncertainty

Abstract

While policy makers and news headlines focus on debates about health care and tax policy, the U.S. fiscal outlook remains troubling and is a constraint against which new proposals should be judged. Budget deficits appear manageable in the short run, but the nation’s debt-GDP ratio is already high relative to historical norms, and even under optimistic assumptions, both measures will rise in the future. Sustained deficits and rising federal debt will crowd out future investment, reduce prospects for economic growth, and impose burdens on future generations.

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