Long-Term Budget Issues:

Moving From Balancing the Budget to Balancing Fiscal Risk

GAO-01-385T: Published: Feb 6, 2001. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 2001.

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In this statement, the Comptroller General discusses the fiscal policy challenges facing Congress and the nation. The focus of tax administration and budgeting are shifting because of current and projected budget surpluses. The Comptroller General speaks of the need for fiscal responsibility when using surplus projections to design tax and spending policies. These projections are based on a set of assumptions that may or may not hold. They are not a precise prediction of a future and should be used as a reference point when making policy decisions. Although the projected surpluses can provide an opportunity to respond to pent-up demands for additional spending or tax cuts, Congress must balance those demands with the nation's long-term economic health.

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