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Economic Indicator

Deficit outlook: Good and bad

The latest report from the Congressional Budget Office has something for everyone to have mixed feelings about. In the short term, the outlook for the budget deficit continues to look good, but by 2018, it will start growing again, fueled in large measure by growth in mandated spending in retirement and health care.

President Barack Obama can continue to brag about economic growth and the decline in the federal deficit, which is currently estimated at $468 billion this year. Incidentally, that's actually slightly less than the 50-year average as a percentage of gross domestic product. It's also nearly $200 billion less than it was just two years ago.

But the problem that...