CBO details 103 deficit-cutting options

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday detailed 103 ways Congress and the administration could cut spending or raise revenue to reduce the budget deficit over the next decade.
 
The report updates budget options last issued by CBO in March 2011, before several rounds of fiscal fights in Washington, and comes as Congress is struggling to come up with even a small deficit deal to replace the automatic spending cuts from sequestration.
 
The options examined include 23 cuts to mandatory spending, 28 cuts to discretionary spending, 36 revenue increases and 16 changes to healthcare.
 
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The changes range from smaller options like eliminating oil and gas subsidies or shifting direct payments to farmers, to massive changes like cutting all Social Security benefits by 15 percent, raising individual income tax rates or raising the gas tax by 35 cents. 
 
The budget deficit fell to $680 billion in fiscal 2013, the first time it was below $1 trillion under President Obama, and CBO expects it to continue to fall through the middle part of the decade. The scorekeeper warns that healthcare costs, rising interest rates, and the aging population will cause entitlements to explode the deficit in years to come.
 
CBO said Wednesday that “extended projections show a substantial imbalance” with the deficit reaching 100 percent of the economy by 2038.
 
“To put the federal budget on a sustainable long-term path, lawmakers would need to make significant policy changes,” CBO said.