Federal Deficit Projections Top $1 Trillion – Fiscal Policy Review

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) establishes budget forecasts based on various factors that are constantly changing. Among the factors are fiscal policy, economic projections, as well as trade policy initiatives. 

Projections are revised on a regular basis by the CBO and may change or be modified contingent on fiscal policy and government outlays such as Social Security and health care expenses.

The most recent projections reveal a federal budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion in 2020, an estimate based on current fiscal circumstances and the economic environment.

Projections over the next 10 years show an average annual budget deficit of $1.2 trillion between 2019 and 2029. The estimate represents a deficit of 4.4% to 4.8% of GDP, above the 50-year average. Even though tax revenues are estimated to grow, GDP is expected to expand at a more conservative pace. Current estimates show GDP growing at 2.3% in 2019, yet the CBO projects an average annual GDP growth rate of 1.8% over the next 10 years.

The three largest expense items for the federal government have been and are projected to be Social Security, health care programs, and interest paid on government debt. Rising interest rates may become more of an issue as rates may eventually head higher for government debt, with future debt issuance becoming more expensive for the U.S. as rates slowly rise.

Sources: CBO; Update To The Budget & Economic Outlook 2019-2029

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