CBO Testimony: The 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook: Douglas W. Elmendorf, Director, Before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives, September 26, 2013 [open pdf - 3MB]
From the Document: "Chairman Ryan, Congressman Van Hollen, and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify on the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO's) most recent analysis of the long-term outlook for the budget and the economy. My statement summarizes the report 'The 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook', which CBO released last week. Between 2009 and 2012, the federal government recorded the largest budget deficits relative to the size of the economy since 1946, causing federal debt to soar. Federal debt held by the public is now about 73 percent of the economy's annual output, or gross domestic product (GDP). That percentage is higher than at any point in U.S. history except a brief period around World War II, and it is twice the percentage at the end of 2007. If current laws generally remained in place, federal debt held by the public would decline slightly relative to GDP over the next several years, CBO projects. After that, however, growing deficits would ultimately push debt back above its current high level. CBO projects that federal debt held by the public would reach 100 percent of GDP in 2038, 25 years from now, even without accounting for the harmful effects that growing debt would have on the economy (see Figure 1). Moreover, debt would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy, a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely."
United States. Congressional Budget Office: http://www.cbo.gov/