It is probably a good time to revisit then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony to the same committee 10 years ago today. Here is his testimony on March 2, 2001:
Both the Bush Administration and the Congressional Budget Office project growing on-budget surpluses under current policy over the next decade.
The most recent projections from OMB and CBO indicate that, if current policies remain in place, the total unified surplus will reach about $800 billion in fiscal year 2010, including an on-budget surplus of almost $500 billion. Moreover, the admittedly quite uncertain long-term budget exercises released by the CBO last October maintain an implicit on-budget surplus under baseline assumptions well past 2030 despite the budgetary pressures from the aging of the baby-boom generation, especially on the major health programs.
These most recent projections, granted their tentativeness, nonetheless make clear that the highly desirable goal of paying off the federal debt is in reach and, indeed, would occur well before the end of the decade under baseline assumptions.
How did that work out?
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