The following article appeared in the June 30, 2010 issue of USA Today.
The federal debt will represent 62% of the nation's economy by the end of this year, the highest percentage since just after World War II, according to a long-term budget outlook released today by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
Republicans, who have been talking a lot about the debt in recent months, pounced on the report. "The driver of this debt is spending," said New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. "Our existing debt will be worsened by the president's new health care entitlement programs...as well as an explosion in existing health care and retirement entitlement spending as the Baby Boomers retire."
At the end of 2008, the debt equaled about 40% of the nation's annual economic output, according to the CBO.
The report comes as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform meets today. The group, created by President Obama, is expected to issue recommendations in December to curb the debt - a point Democrats raised today.
The CBO report "reinforces the importance of the work being done right now by the president's fiscal commisson," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who chairs the Senate Budget Committee. "We simply cannot allow the federal debt to explode as envisioned under CBO's projections. The economic security of the country and the quality of life for our children and grandchildren are at stake."
(Posted by John Fritze)