Recently, the federal government has been recording budget deficits that are the largest as a share of the economy since 1945. Consequently, the amount of federal debt held by the public has surged. By the end of this year, CBO projects, federal debt will reach roughly 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)the highest percentage since shortly after World War II.
As required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), CBO reviews nearly all legislation approved by authorizing committees of the Congress to identify mandates that the legislation would impose on state, local, or tribal governmentsknown as intergovernmental mandatesor on the private sector.
I spoke last week with a group of reporters who gather regularly for breakfast at the invitation of the Christian Science Monitor. The conversation touched on a number of issues, but I would like to focus on three of those.
I was pleased to talk last Thursday at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Unmanned aircraft systems have long held great promise for military operations, but technology has only recently matured enough to exploit that potential. The Department of Defense (DoD) has published detailed, unclassified plans to purchase over the next ten years about 730 new medium-sized and large unmanned aircraft systems that are designed for reconnaissance and light attack missions.
The federal budget deficit is $929 billion for the first eight months of fiscal year 2011, CBO estimates in its latest Monthly Budget Review—$6 billion less than the shortfall recorded over the same period last year.
In 2009, about 39 million foreign-born people lived in the United States, making up more than 12 percent of the U.S. populationthe largest share since 1920. Naturalized citizens (foreign-born people who have fulfilled the requirements of U.S. citizenship) accounted for about 17 million of the total.
In the current fiscal year, the federal government will spend about $1 trillion on health care. More than half of that will be through Medicare, a little more than a quarter on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the remaining fifth on veterans’ health care, the military health system, health research, and other programs.
Until recently the obligations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—two federally chartered institutions (called government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs) that provide credit guarantees for almost half of the outstanding mortgages in the United States—had no official backing from the federal government, nor were any costs associated with them reflected in the federal budget.