Drawing on recently released projections, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reiterated on Monday that federal spending on Social Security and health care is on track to increase significantly as a share of the economy in the coming decades.
“CBO projects that spending for Social Security would increase noticeably as a share of the economy — from 4.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 to 6.3 percent in 2046 — if current laws generally remained unchanged,” the budget office said in a new blog post.
Such projections have led The Concord Coalition to call on candidates for federal office to discuss how they plan to put the budget on a more sustainable track.
Spending on major health care programs, CBO warns, is projected to grow even more rapidly than Social Security, with net outlays rising from 5.5 percent of GDP now to 8.9 percent in 2046. About three quarters of that increase would be for Medicare.
Noting that much of the federal budget already goes to people 65 and older, CBO adds: “By 2046, spending for Social Security and the major health care programs (mostly Medicare) for people 65 or older is projected to account for about half of all federal non-interest spending.”
Social Security and Major Health Care Programs in Long-Term Budget Outlook (CBO)
CBO’s Long-Term Projections Show Need for Political Candidates to Address Growing Budget Challenges (Concord)