Peterson Foundation Statement Ahead of President’s State of the Union Address

Feb 4, 2020

NEW YORK — Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, issued the following statement in advance of tonight’s State of the Union address:

“By any measure, the state of the Union’s fiscal outlook is unsustainable, and getting worse. Our national debt is more than $23 trillion and this year’s budget deficit will reach $1 trillion. We already spend a staggering $1 billion every day just on interest, and it will double in 10 years.

“Tonight is a valuable opportunity for the president to talk to the nation about a better path forward. America faces many pressing challenges, including healthcare access, climate change, economic inequality, and unpredictable national security threats. Managing our debt and putting our nation on a more secure fiscal path will help America meet these challenges, build a strong economic future and ensure our leading role in the world.”

Background Context

According to the baseline projections in the Budget and Economic Outlook released last week by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO):

  • The national debt will soon exceed the size of the economy, growing to 98 percent of GDP by 2030 and 180 percent of GDP by 2050.
  • Federal deficits will exceed $1 trillion in each of the next 10 years.
  • Interest is the fastest growing budget category, costing more this year than the government spends on children, and it will total $5.9 trillion over the next decade.

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