Structural Budget Problems Seen as Primary Threat

Blog Post
Monday, April 05, 2010

Members of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) opened their annual legislative conference in Washington March 28 by hearing a sobering assessment of the nation’s fiscal outlook. A panel consisting of Concord Coalition Executive Director Bob Bixby, former CBO Director Donald Marron and John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute agreed that structural -- not temporary -- factors pose the main threat to the economic future.  Bixby told the group that even assuming a robust economic recovery and fading war costs, the budget would remain on an unsustainable path. He emphasized that the large deficits projected in the coming decade would increase interest costs on the debt from $200 billion in 2009 to $900 billion by 2020. Marron said that the recession is likely to have some long-term adverse economic effects and that the shift to an older population may also contribute to slower economic growth in the future than has been the historic pattern. Irons said that most of the recent spike in debt has been caused by adverse economic conditions and not “out of control spending.” He said that the long-term problem is mostly a problem of rising health care costs. To watch this event, click here.