Long-Term Budget Analysis

In addition to preparing budget projections spanning the standard 10-year budget window, CBO also analyzes the outlook for the budget over the next 25 years (and, to a limited extent, over the next 75 years). The agency’s long-term projections show the impact of the aging of the population, rising health care costs, and economic trends on federal spending, revenues, deficits, and debt. CBO also analyzes the long-term economic impact of alternative budget policies.

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    In CBO’s projections, spending on Social Security exceeds revenues to the program in 2022 and increases relative to GDP over the next 75 years, while revenues remain stable. If combined, the program’s trust funds would be exhausted in 2033.

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    The U.S. faces a challenging fiscal outlook according to CBO's extended baseline projections, which show budget deficits and federal debt held by the public growing steadily in relation to gross domestic product over the next three decades.

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    CBO presents its projections of the federal budget for the next 30 years if current laws governing taxes and spending generally did not change. Growth in revenues would be outpaced by growth in spending, leading to rising deficits and debt.

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    Summarizing three reports about the aviation fleets of the U.S. Air Force, Army, and the Department of the Navy, CBO projects the number and costs of aircraft the Department of Defense would need to procure to maintain the fleets’ current size through 2050.

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    CBOLT is the main analytical tool that CBO uses to make long-term projections of the economy and federal budget. Those projections help shed light on fiscal challenges that extend beyond CBO’s standard 10-year projection window.

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    CBO analyzes 36 policy options commonly proposed by policymakers and analysts. Most of them would improve Social Security’s long-term finances, but only a few would significantly postpone the combined trust funds’ exhaustion date.