As Congress gears up to mount discussions on their fiscal books, a new report has found that Americans’ focus on deficits is waning.
However, the economic outlook for the next 10 years has budget experts saying both the American people and their elected officials should turn their attention to government spending and federal deficits.
A new poll from the Pew Research Center, released Friday, suggests that fewer Americans believe the top priority for Congress and the president should be reducing the budget deficit. In 2013, when focus on the deficit peaked, 72 percent of Americans believed lowering it should be their elected officials’ top priority that year. Today, however, 56 percent say deficit reduction should be Congress and President Barack Obama’s top priority this year, Pew found.
Though the public’s emphasis on reducing the deficit has tapered, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office painted a grim picture of the economic and budget landscapes over the next 10 years. According to the nonpartisan agency, government spending is projected to top $6.4 trillion in 2026, which serves as an increase of more than $2.7 trillion over a 10-year span.
Additionally, the CBO projected deficits will rise for the first time since 2009 and are projected to reach trillion-dollar levels by 2022. By 2026, meanwhile, the agency said deficits will approach $1.4 trillion.
“We’re just spending money to consumption and we’re paying for the sins of our past with interest on the debt,” Romina Boccia, deputy director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “The more government borrows, it crowds out private-sector borrowing, which goes toward investment. … We are not putting resources now toward the productive use of growing our economy and creating a more prosperous future.”
The CBO pointed to increased spending on entitlement programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—as the key drivers of increased spending. However, the agency also said spending on interest on the debt has risen over the past few years, also contributing to the government’s increased spending.
“It’s important for the American people to recognize that it’s not government spending on foreign aid or just simply wasteful, mismanaged government that’s driving deeper and deeper us into debt. It’s the very popular programs that many Americans love and enjoy like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and we all need to work together to recognize what’s driving the growth in spending and debt and what is sucking the energy out of the economy,” Boccia said. She continued:
Politicians are followers. They will follow what their constituents demand. We need a change in culture. We need to change away from an entitlement culture to a culture of self-reliance where Americans demand from their public officials that they rein in spending on the entitlements, and that is the most difficult part.
Since 2009 when Obama took office, budget deficits have been cut in half—an accomplishment frequently touted by the president—and in the wake of the recession, Congress…