Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Outlook for 2013 is Weak to Bleak, According to a New CBO Report

Released Wednesday, here are the highlights/lowlights from the official Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecast for 2013 and beyond.

CBO Sees Recession Unless Congress Acts has the summary:

"Here are some quick takeaways:

1) If Congress doesn’t address the looming spending cuts and tax increases set to kick in next year, the economy will quickly go into recession, averaging a reduction in gross domestic product of 2.9% on an annualized rate in the first half of 2013. If the spending cuts and tax increases are averted, the economy is only expected to grow at an anemic 1.7% next year.

2) If the tax increases and spending cuts aren’t averted, the unemployment rate will rise to 9.1% at end of 2013. If they are avoided, the unemployment rate will fall just slightly, to 8.0% at the end of 2013, according to CBO’s forecasts.

3) CBO projects the deficit in the year that ends Sept. 30, 2012, will be $1.128 trillion, or 7.3% of GDP, slightly less than the $1.211 trillion projected by the White House a few weeks ago.

4) For the next fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, 2013, if the tax increases and spending cuts go into effect, the deficit will shrink to just $641 billion, the equivalent of 4.0% of GDP. If the spending cuts and tax increases are averted by Congress next year, the deficit is projected to be $1.037 trillion, or 6.5% of GDP. That’s because less tax revenue will come into the government, and higher spending levels will continue.

5) The White House’s plan to allow tax rates to rise for families who earn more $250,000 will bring in $42 billion in fiscal year 2013 and a combined $824 billion over 10 years.

And 'Fiscal Cliff' Has Many Perils says this: 

"The U.S. economy likely would slide into a "significant recession" next year if Congress doesn't avert tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

Explore the Report

But if they are postponed for at least a year, the federal government faces the prospect of a fifth straight year with a budget deficit greater than $1 trillion, the CBO said.

These dueling pressures came into sharp focus as the nonpartisan agency released its final budget and economic forecast ahead of the November elections.

The fight over how to address tax and spending policies has frozen Washington into political paralysis. And Democrats and Republicans aren't expected to begin negotiating a way to avoid tax increases and spending cuts until after the elections. . . .

The CBO painted two starkly different scenarios for next year, depending on which path lawmakers take.

Under current law, the Bush-era tax cuts are scheduled to expire at year-end, raising tax rates on more than 100 million Americans. These tax increases, combined with roughly $100 billion in required spending cuts on military and other government programs, would shrink projected deficits from $1.13 trillion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 to $641 billion for the year that ends Sept. 30, 2013.

That would reduce the deficit from roughly 7.3% of the nation's gross domestic product to roughly 4% of GDP, the CBO said, the largest one-year reduction since 1969.

But as a consequence, the economy would contract at a projected annualized rate of 2.9% in the first half of 2013, and by 0.5% over the entire year. The unemployment rate would rise to 9.1% at the end of the year from just above 8% now, the CBO estimated.

Summing Up

While reading a CBO report can't be categorized as fun reading, it would be time well spent.

And the above referenced article "Even Without Cliff, Outlook Is Anemic" is particularly worth reading.

I suggest you take some time and poke around some of the abundant and relevant materials referenced above.

Then you won't have to depend on political sound bites or the nightly news to get you up to speed on this sure to be heavily discussed topic this summer, fall and winter, too.

Thanks. Bob.

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