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What’s Half a Trillion Dollars Among Friends?



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For those who see the Congressional Budget Office as the most accurate arbiter of future deficit projections, it’s worth noting that its latest projection for the 2011 budget deficit is $1.5 trillion, or 9.8 percent of GDP.

If you don’t find that number astounding on its own merits, note that total projected revenues for 2011 are $2.2 trillion. In other words, taxes would have to go up on every American by 66 percent, at projected levels of economic activity, in order to pay for our 2011 spending commitments, including interest on the debt.

What’s ironic is that last year, the CBO projected a 2011 budget deficit of just $980 billion. What’s a $500 billion, 50 percent error among friends?

Avik Roy is an equity research analyst at Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. in New York City. He blogs on health-care issues at The Apothecary.



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