This report provides an update on the nation's fiscal health as of the end of fiscal year 2017, and describes its likely fiscal future if policies don’t change. Among its findings:
The federal government’s current fiscal path is unsustainable.
Publicly held debt was 76 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2017 and it will surpass its historical high of 106 percent within 14 to 22 years.
Other agencies join GAO in saying that the longer action is delayed, the greater and more drastic the changes will have to be.
Debt held by the public under projections from the 2017 Financial Report, the Congressional Budget Office, and GAO
Line graph showing different increasing projections, all of which are above the historical high of 106% in 1946.
The Congress and administration face serious economic, security, and social challenges that will require difficult policy choices in the near term about the level of federal spending and investments as well as ways to obtain needed resources. At the same time, the federal government is highly leveraged in debt by historical norms.