January 31, 2013

In its Jan. 27 editorial “Doves and hawks,” The Post argued reasonably for further deficit reduction. But it may have created a misimpression about a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimate: $1.4 trillion more in savings would stabilize the debt as a share of the economy for the coming decade, with more deficit reduction needed to keep the debt from rising in the decades that follow.

The editorial suggested that our analysis used a “rosy scenario” because it assumed steady economic growth (and didn’t assume the outbreak of new wars). But, like virtually all budget analysts, we simply used the economic and budget forecast of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) , not one of our own.

Rather than try to predict the specific years in which the economy will be strong or weak over a decade, the CBO’s forecasts generally reflect average growth rates over the business cycle as a whole, including both recovery and recession years. Like previous CBO forecasts, the current CBO forecast is as likely to prove too pessimistic as too optimistic.  

Robert Greenstein, Washington

The writer is president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.