Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Bad News for Agency Budgets

ARCHIVES
larry1235/Shutterstock.com

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, as part of its ongoing public education efforts, just published a simplified summary of the outlook for federal spending that does not bode well for most agencies.

The matter-of-fact slide show delivered to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research by CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf May 13 reiterates some familiar grim news. For example, federal debt as percentage of gross domestic product is now at its highest since 1950, while budget deficits, while declining now, are set to rise beginning in 2016.

The reasons for the imbalance include entitlement commitments, the demographic bulge of the baby-boomers and health care costs that are growing more rapidly than the rest of the economy. Interestingly, the average tax burdens in 2013 for most income groups, CBO said, were “well below their averages for the 1979–2010 period.” Yet federal spending and revenues are both projected to rise above their 40-year averages--beginning this year.

Perhaps the most salient point will affect feds who work not on giant slices of the pie chart like Social Security and Medicare but on programs that depend on an annual appropriation. Spending on such nondefense “investments,” which, CBO notes, do the most to help move goods and services in the private sector, taken together by 2023 will be a smaller percentage of GDP than in at least 70 years.

Whatever solution emerges from Congress and the White House, the studiously neutral agency opines, budgeteers “will need to cut benefits from those large [entitlement] programs, raise tax revenue above its historical percentage of GDP to pay for the rising cost of those programs, or adopt a combination of those approaches.”

(Image via larry1235/Shutterstock.com)

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.