Bloomberg by the Numbers: 26%

A retiree attends a Senior Information & Resource Fair in South Gate, California.

Photograph by Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

A retiree attends a Senior Information & Resource Fair in South Gate, California.

Federal spending is projected to rise to 26 percent of gross domestic product in 2039 from 21 percent in 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Increased spending for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, children’s health programs and subsidies for medical insurance purchased through the Affordable Care Act would drive much of that increase, according to a long-term budget outlook CBO released yesterday.

“That boost in spending is expected to occur because of the aging of the population, growth in per-capita spending on health care, and an expansion of federal health care programs,” according to the report, which reflects how the economy would affect spending and revenues if current law generally remains unchanged.

Revenues as a share of the economy would rise more slowly than spending, to about 19.5 percent of GDP in 2039, according to the CBO.

While the federal budget deficits have declined as the economy recovers from the biggest downturn since the Great Depression, the share of the debt held by the public is projected to be 74 percent of GDP by the end of the year, the highest level since 1950.

Debt held by the public would be more than 100 percent of GDP in 2039.

“That trajectory ultimately would be unsustainable,” the report said.

CBO-federaldebtbypublic

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