The nation’s out-of-control spending problems persist, despite President Obama‘s earlier assurances that the federal government would strive to live within its means.

According to a mid-year review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), this year’s projected deficit will top $1.47 trillion and is projected at $1.42 trillion next year. Starting in 2013, the nation’s deficit projections are slightly rosier, ranging in the hundreds of billions rather than in the trillions, but their cumulative effect will be to push the amount of debt held by the public to nearly $19 trillion, or 77.4 percent of GDP, by 2020.

Fiscal irresponsibility of this magnitude and duration is not without risk. In a newly released brief, titled Federal Debt and the Risk of a Fiscal Crisis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warns that if present conditions are allowed to continue, the U.S. could face “several negative economic consequences,” including potentially higher interest rates, lower economic output, and an increased probability of a “sudden fiscal crisis.” Though it is impossible to know just when a fiscal crisis of this sort might arise or how long it may last, it would almost certainly have a lasting impact on everyone’s finances.

Risking this kind of fiscal crisis because of persistent deficits and a gargantuan national debt is reckless, to say the least. If we are to avoid future calamity, meaningful budget reforms are needed now.

– Katy HawkinsIntern, Center for Fiscal Policy