The federal deficit, already huge by any standard, is predicted to remain above $1 trillion throughout the next decade and beyond. Many experts estimate that, by 2020, the nation’s debt/GDP ratio will exceed 90 percent, a level widely perceived to increase the risk of a catastrophic financial event. Neither Congress nor the last two administrations have proposed serious plans to reduce the long-term deficit, although President Obama has appointed a bipartisan commission to make recommendations on how the deficit can be reduced.
On July 22, Brookings hosted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, who has proposed what he calls “A Roadmap for America’s Future.” Ryan, who is also a member of the president’s deficit commission, summarized his plan and answered questions. His talk was followed by comments from budget experts representing diverse views on the changes in spending and taxes required to reduce the deficit.
After the presentations, panelists took questions from the audience.