Federal debt is projected to rise significantly over the long term. What policy changes could reduce future deficits and thus lower the trajectory of federal debt? What criteria might be used to evaluate those policy changes?
The Administration requested $23 billion for nuclear forces in 2014, CBO estimates. With current plans, costs will total about $350 billion over the next 10 years if costs grow at historical rates, CBO projects.
A carbon tax or cap-and-trade program could make emission-intensive U.S. products less competitive and increase emissions overseas. Import tariffs related to emissions could reduce those effects but would be hard to implement.
In 2012, the federal government spent $531 billion on investment—for physical capital; research and development; and education and training—which represented 15 percent of federal spending and 3 percent of GDP.
Spending on the Social Security program will exceed its dedicated tax revenues, on average, by about 12 percent over the next decade, CBO projects. The gap will grow larger in the 2020s and will exceed 30 percent of revenues by 2030.
CBO examined 36 options related to the following parts of the tax system: individual income tax rates, the individual income tax base, individual income tax credits, payroll taxes, and taxation of income from businesses, among others.
To comply with the Budget Control Act, the DoD budget would have to be as much as 20 percent below the cost of its current plans. Such a reduction could be achieved through different approaches, some involving cutbacks in combat units.
The 23 options related to mandatory spending would generally decrease the amount paid to beneficiaries, redefine the population that is entitled to benefits of various programs, or reduce payments to state and local governments.