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The optimism comes because CBO says it sees housing and auto sales improving, and state and local governments’ belt-tightening will no longer be the drag on the economy that it has been over the past few years.

Over the long term, stiff restrictions on basic domestic and defense spending, combined with lower-than-projected spending on Medicare and Medicaid, will also help the government’s bottom line.

But that assumes Congress will follow through on the tight limits on spending it has written into law, including the automatic “sequesters” now due to take effect March 1 and to run through most of the decade.

Even without the sequesters, discretionary spending is already tight and by 2023 would be less, when calculated as a percentage of the economy, than at any time since records began to be kept in 1962.