Record budget deficit predicted
The nation’s growing budget deficit has become a talking point for those on both sides of the health reform debate and could help determine whether reform ultimately succeeds or fails.
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released separate reports that predict the deficit will reach record heights this year, at nearly $1.6 trillion – well above last year’s $455 billion deficit.
Over the next ten years, OMB forecasts a $9 trillion deficit – more than $2 trillion greater than earlier estimates – while CBO predicts a 10-year deficit of around $7 trillion. CBO’s estimate assumes tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush will expire by 2011 as scheduled, while OMB and the Obama administration assume the tax cuts will stay in place for those making less than $250,000 a year, as proposed by the president.
Many Republicans and Obama opponents say health reform would only compound the problem and create more red ink, while many Democrats and supporters of the president’s health reform agenda argue the only way to control health care costs – and drive down the deficit – is to overhaul the system.