Monitor Breakfast Q&A: Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf

Article excerpt

Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf discussed the "dangerous gamble" of a potential American default on its debt ceiling, the heavy impact of even slight shifts upward in US borrowing costs and his belief that a "great deal of the pain of this downturn lies in front of us still" at a June 14 Monitor breakfast.

Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf is in charge of providing lawmakers with objective, impartial analyses of budget and economic issues. The Harvard-trained economist also has worked at the Council of Economic Advisors and the Federal Reserve Board. He was guest speaker at the June 14 Monitor breakfast in Washington. Below is a Q&A from that event.

US economic outlook:

"The country faces very serious economic and budget challenges. These challenges can be solved, but they can't be solved easily."

Consequences of the US economy operating below its potential:

"A great deal of the pain of this downturn lies in front of us still."

How today's budget climate is different from that of earlier days:

"The biggest issue ... to understand is that we cannot repeat the budget past, in the sense that we cannot have revenues at the same share of GDP [gross domestic product], and have the same sorts of programs for older Americans, and run the rest of the government in the same way. …