Study shows national debt load on future generations
From press release
“Taking steps soon to stabilize the nation’s fiscal future will be far less costly and difficult than acting later,” according to a new report by an expert committee established by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration. “If action is postponed, the options will be fewer and the choices will be even more difficult. With delay, the risk of a disruptive fiscal crisis will grow, and the standard of living experienced by everyone’s grandchildren is likely to be lower than it is for people today.”
According to the report: “In about 30 years, if new revenues are not raised, and the three big retirement and health programs are not modified, those programs alone would consume all available federal revenues. Even sooner, their growth will intensify pressures to cut the portion of federal spending that is subject to annual appropriations, an array of programs that includes most of the core functions of government and many services and investments generally considered vital.”
The report discusses the values that shape Americans’ diverse views on the role of government and offers many policy options and four illustrative paths for addressing the nation’s mounting debt. While no approach offers easy solutions, the report demonstrates it is possible to put the federal budget on a sustainable course, if the hard work begins soon. The report outlines six principles for Americans to judge whether any budget proposal will contribute to achieving long-term fiscal sustainability. It also recommends that the government take immediate steps to incorporate into the annual budget process a clearer understanding of the long-term fiscal picture.
The nonpartisan, expert committee was supported by the MacArthur Foundation and co-chaired by Drs. Rudolph Penner and John Palmer. Penner, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, is the former director of the Congressional Budget Office. Palmer, dean emeritus of the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, is a former public trustee for the Medicare and Social Security programs.
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