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Obama: ‘There is no debt crisis’

Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)
Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

The United States is roughly $17 trillion in debt, but President Barack Obama says there’s no reason to worry.

Speaking with ABC News correspondent George Stephanopoulos this week, Pres. Obama downplayed concerns of an impending financial catastrophe, claiming quite to the contrary that the country is on track to turning the economy around.

“We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,” Pres. Obama told Mr. Stephanopoulos during an interview that aired Wednesday on the television program Good Morning America.

“In fact,” added the president, “for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.”

Others aren’t so sure.

Pres. Obama’s claim is indeed an optimistic one, but is it all that accurate? For starters, the Congressional Budget Office admits that, yes, the deficit may be slightly less in the coming months than what we’ve seen throughout the Obama administration so far, but in ten years’ time things aren’t likely to shape up all that wonderfully. The CBO projects a deficit of $845 billion — a fantastic figure when compared with the deficits exceeding $1 trillion that have occurred since Pres. Obama took office — but the size of that sum won’t be shrinking for long. The CBO expects the deficit to take an upward turn again as soon as 2015, with a total of $7 trillion expected to be added to the national debt during the next decade.

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the two economists behind the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, or Bowles-Simpson Act, say that recent disagreements between parties in Washington suggest Democrats and Republicans will be unlikely to iron out a deal this year that will help diminish the debt. Although Pres. Obama seems optimistic about the economic future — even when accounting for rampant bipartisan bickering — others aren’t so sure.

“They haven’t done any of the tough stuff, any of the important stuff,” Bowles told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl last month. “They haven’t reformed the tax code…they haven’t done anything to slow the rate of health care, to the rate of growth of the economy, they haven’t made Social Security sustainably solvent. There’s about $2.4 trillion more of hard work we’ve gotta do.”

Pres. Obama told Mr. Stephanopoulos that that’s a good start, though, and said this week’s that it’s “important to recognize is that we’ve already cut $2.5- $2.7 trillion out of the deficit.”

“If the sequester stays in, you’ve got over $3.5 trillion of deficit reduction already,” added the president.

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