On the occasion of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony to the House Committee on Financial Services today, Calculated Risk took a look back at what Alan Greenspan was saying at the same hearing in 2001:
The most recent projections from OMB and CBO indicate that, if current policies remain in place, the total unified surplus will reach about $800 billion in fiscal year 2010, including an on-budget surplus of almost $500 billion. Moreover, the admittedly quite uncertain long-term budget exercises released by the CBO last October maintain an impliciton-budget surplus under baseline assumptions well past 2030 despite the budgetary pressures from the aging of the baby-boom generation, especially on the major health programs.
These most recent projections, granted their tentativeness, nonetheless make clear that the highly desirable goal of paying off the federal debt is in reach and, indeed, would occur well before the end of the decade under baseline assumptions.
Always worth keeping in mind: the uncertainty in government estimates is real, and there’s good reason to assume that the rosy scenario won’t come to pass.
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