- The Washington Times - Monday, January 28, 2019

The government will run a $897 billion deficit this year and will cross the trillion-dollar-per-year mark in 2022, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday, delivering a slightly better forecast than last year.

Still, the overall trend remains grim, with deficits expected to remain above a trillion dollars per year for the rest of the next decade, topping $1.3 trillion by 2029.

This marks the first year that Social Security, including interest costs is no longer boosting the budget and by 2020 the program will begin to be a net drag on the rest of the budget, as regular revenue has to be pumped in to cover the costs.

Overall, Social Security and Medicare continue to be the biggest drivers of spending growth, which the CBO said will outstrip revenues and feed the annual shortfall.

Debt, the accumulation of those deficits, will continue to soar. Debt held by the public will reach 80 percent of gross domestic product next year, and will nearly double to 152 percent — by far the highest on record, even topping World War II — by the middle of this century.

“Debt is on an unsustainable course in CBO’s projections,” CBO Director Keith Hall said. “To put it on a sustainable one, lawmakers will have to make significant changes to tax policy and spending policies — making revenues larger than they would be under current law, making spending for large benefit programs smaller than it would be under current law, or adopting some combination of those approaches.”

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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