government

Mandatory spending will surpass total revenues in 2016

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 21, 2011

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The Congressional Budget Office expects health entitlements and other mandatory spending programs to start surpassing federal revenues in five years.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, other health programs, defense spending and net interest will exceed 18% of gross domestic product in 2016, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said March 7 during a presentation to the National Assn. for Business Economics. Projected revenues during that year would just cover the costs of those programs.

"Fiscal policy cannot be put on a sustainable path just by eliminating waste and inefficiency; the policy changes that are needed will significantly affect popular programs or people's tax payments, or both," Elmendorf said.

The Medicare program represented 23% of total mandatory spending in 2010, and Medicaid and other health programs made up 15%.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/03/21/gvbf0321.htm.

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