CBPP says just $1.4 trillion more in tax increases or spending cuts will stabilize the debt. There is no need to do more:
With the “fiscal cliff” deal in place, President Obama and Congress are now expected to seek more deficit reduction to replace the automatic spending cuts (“sequestration”) that are scheduled to take effect on March 1. Policymakers can stabilize the public debt over the coming decade, ensuring that it doesn’t grow faster than the economy and risk eventual economic problems, with $1.4 trillion in additional deficit savings over the next decade (see Box 2). Policymakers can achieve the $1.4 trillion with $1.2 trillion in policy savings — tax increases and spending cuts — because that would generate almost $200 billion in savings in interest payments. That $1.4 trillion in deficit savings would stabilize the debt at about 73 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the latter part of the decade (see Figure 1).
That $1.4 trillion — and not a larger amount — would stabilize the debt is due primarily to the deficit-reduction policies that the President and Congress have enacted over the last two years. First came $1.5 trillion in appropriations cuts (and another $200 billion in associated interest savings), primarily through the annual caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA). Second came the tax increases in the fiscal cliff deal, officially called the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA).