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The deficit is shrinking but don't get complacent: Maya MacGuineas

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind
Daily Ticker

The U.S. budget deficit is narrowing. From October through March the total government deficit was $413.26 billion, down 31% from last year—putting the U.S. on track to have the smallest deficit in six years. The Congressional Budget Office also estimates the deficit for the 2014 fiscal year will be at its lowest since 2008.

But don't get your party hats out yet, says Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “While the improvement in the deficit in the short-term has captured a lot of attention and lulled a lot of people into complacency, it’s actually a bit backwards from what we want to see,” she says.

Related: Why Obama's budget isn't worth the paper it's printed on

According to MacGuineas, real fiscal problems don’t stem from the deficit being too large this year. “The real challenge is looking forward over the next five or ten years. We are on a real debt path where the debt is growing faster than the economy and is very dangerous.”

MacGuineas gets concerned when politicians (including President Obama) proclaim that they’ve cut the deficit in half, “that cutting in half came after a run-up of 750% of the deficit in just two years and more importantly our debt levels are twice of what they’ve been historically.”

Related: Three things you need to know about the Paul Ryan budget

MacGuineas also laments Washington lawmakers’ focus on midterm elections. Instead she says, politicians should work on tax code and entitlement reform. Watch the video above for more on what she'd like Congress to focus on.

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