A recent post on the blog of the director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) should alarm anyone who cares about the fiscal health of our federal government. The CBO is basically Congress’ non-partisan budget and number-crunching office. The post from Director Douglas Elmendorf addressed the long-term budget outlook in the light of projected entitlement spending.
The most notable quote from the post is the following:
… fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path to an extent that cannot be solved by minor tinkering. The country faces a fundamental disconnect between the services the people expect the government to provide, particularly in the form of benefits for older Americans, and the tax revenues that people are willing to send to the government to finance those services. That fundamental disconnect will have to be addressed in some way if the budget is to be placed on a sustainable course.
This wasn’t the first time that a non-partisan government financing expert has projected a less than rosy future for federal fiscal health. Similar remarks were made in the past by the U.S. Comptroller General.
But is anyone in government leadership listening? Judging by the massive health-care “reform” proposals, they’re not. Politicians typically don’t like to tell people inconvenient facts like this.
One might find a glimmer of hope in the fact that entitlement financial projections tend to be wildly off … except for the fact that they tend to underestimate rather than overestimate costs.