Debt held by the public rises each year in relation to the size of the economy, reaching 116 percent of GDP in 2034—an amount greater than at any point in the nation’s history. From 2024 to 2034, increases in mandatory spending and interest costs outpace declines in discretionary spending and growth in revenues and the economy, driving up debt. That trend persists, pushing federal debt to 172 percent of GDP in 2054.
In CBO’s projections, rising spending for Social Security and Medicare boosts mandatory outlays. Discretionary spending as a share of GDP falls to historic lows. And mounting debt and higher interest rates cause net outlays for interest to increase. Starting next year, net interest costs are greater in relation to GDP than at any point since at least 1940, the first year for which the Office of Management and Budget reports such data.