Magazine December 17, 2020, Issue

Recovering the Conservative Case for Entitlement Reform

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We owe a debt to the future

This year has taken so many shocking turns that we have become immune to startling news. So when the Con­gressional Budget Office released its new long-term estimates of federal deficits and debt in September, almost no one noticed.

The figures were grim. The CBO expects the federal debt in 2050 to be twice as large as the country’s annual economic output — a level never ap­proached in our history. It estimates that spending that year will be about 31 percent of gross domestic product, up from about 20 percent today, while revenues will reach only 18 percent of GDP (up from …

This article appears as “A Debt to the Future” in the December 17, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

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