That’s the “fiscal gap” as recently published by the Congressional Budget Office. The fiscal gap is the most realistic long-term budget forecast that the CBO can make (and it’s known for using rosy assumptions about U.S. economic health). It measures the gap between anticipated spending and anticipated revenue, taking all official and unofficial commitments into account.
As this article states, unofficial commitments of the government need to be included in budget forecasts because many of them (such as food stamps) are politically more untouchable than official commitments (such as interest payments to Chinese bondholders).
The really crazy thing is that the fiscal gap has grown by $11 trillion in the last year, in a political environment where Congress and the president cannot agree on cuts averaging $200 billion annually over a decade.
Gary North writes,
Understand, this is the present value of the gap. It’s not that, over the next 75 years, there will be $11 trillion more debt. It is that the present value of the entire gap is $11 trillion. We need $11 trillion today, invested in high-return capital in the private sector, to meet future obligations.
These numbers make investing in foreign real estate seem pretty attractive . . .
For a crash course on what is needed to right this ship, see Tom Woods’s Rollback.