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Solving the Deficit: Interactive Calculator allows you to see how different choices affect the deficit in the US
There is considerable concern that the debt burden that United States will face by the end of the next decade will place serious strains on the government and the economy. It is not clear how high the debt can go before it begins to hamper economic growth or raise questions about the creditworthiness of the U.S. government. As is shown on the calculator below, the debt burden has been much higher for the United States in the past and is currently far higher for many countries than it is projected to be in the baseline scenario for the United States in 2020.
This calculator allows users to see how various policies will affect the debt burden in 2020. These options have appeared in public debates (or should) and would have a substantial impact on the deficit. The calculator allows users to select whatever target they consider appropriate given the various reference points shown.
The Second Calculator: What if the US had normal healthcare costs?
The U.S. health care system is possibly the most inefficient in the world: We spend twice as much per person on health care as other advanced countries, but we have worse health outcomes, including a lower life expectancy. The government, through programs like Medicare and Medicaid, pays for approximately half of the country's health care, almost all of which is actually provided by the private sector. Thus, the bulk of our projected rising budget deficits are due to skyrocketing health care costs.
The CEPR Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator shows that if the U.S. can get health care costs under control, our budget deficits will not rise uncontrollably in the future. But if we fail to contain health care costs, then it will be almost impossible to prevent exploding future budget deficits.
The Calculator lets you see what projected U.S. budget deficits would be if we had the same per person health care costs as any of the countries listed below, all of which enjoy longer life expectancies than the U.S. (Life expectancies are listed in parentheses.)
The yellow line shows projected deficits based on baseline projections from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The blue line shows where the deficits would be if health care costs in the U.S. were to rise only due to the aging of the population and stay even with per capita GDP growth (based on CBO's "Low Health Care Cost" projection).
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