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WASHINGTON – The nation’s federal debt is projected to reach “unprecedented levels” over the next 30 years if lawmakers do not change current laws, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Currently, the nation’s level of debt is the highest level since shortly after World War II, according to the CBO. The federal debt is projected to equal 78% of the gross domestic product by the end of the year. At the end of 2007, federal debt stood at 35% of GDP.
The CBO predicts that federal debt “would reach 92 percent of GDP by the end of the next decade and 144 percent by 2049,” which would be the highest level of debt in the nation’s history.
“The prospect of such large deficits over many years, and the high and rising debt that would result, poses substantial risks for the nation and presents policymakers with significant challenges,” CBO director Phillip Swagel said in a statement Tuesday.
The CBO warned that if lawmakers prevented a cut in discretionary spending in 2020 and an increase in individual income taxes in 2026, even larger increases in debt would result.
Despite the projection announced by the CBO Tuesday, the federal debt and deficits are projected to be lower over the next three decades than what the agency had projected last year.
The agency’s current extended baseline projections predict that debt will equal 141% of GDP in 2048, which is 11 percentage points lower than the CBO projected last year.
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