CBO says debt unsustainable

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Atarting in 2016, the office projected that deficits will rise again as more aging baby boomers begin drawing from Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid’s long-term care benefits.

By 2023, the annual deficit would rise to an estimated 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product, which is just beyond the level that many economists consider sustainable in a growing economy.

By 2038, it would be 6.5 percent.

Accumulated federal debt held by the public, which had averaged 38 percent of the G.D.P. for the 40 years preceding the financial crisis that began five years ago this week, would reach 100 percent of the G.D.P. in 2038.

But that probably understates the potential crisis, the budget office said, because it does not account for “the harmful effects that growing debt would have on the economy.”