The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook

December 3, 2012

GAO's simulations continue to illustrate that the federal government is on an unsustainable long-term fiscal path. In both the Baseline Extended and Alternative simulations, debt held by the public grows as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) over the long term. While the timing and pace of growth varies depending on the assumptions used, neither set of assumptions achieves a sustainable path. In the Baseline Extended simulation, which assumes current law, including the discretionary spending limits and other spending reductions contained in the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 and expiration of certain tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, debt as a share of GDP declines in the short term before turning up again.

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