Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf on Wednesday projected that economic growth will slow by next year and unemployment will rise before that -- a forecast that Rep. Paul Ryan called ominous, grim and alarming.
Elmendorf laid out the latest projections on the economy and deficits before the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill.
Ryan, R-Wis., who is chairman, raised alarm given projections that 2012 "will mark the fourth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits."
"Trillions more dollars will be added to debt in the years ahead, putting a chilling effect on creation today and committing the next generation to a diminished future," he said.
Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen took a different approach, saying deficits and growth would have been worse without President Obama's stimulus plan. "The Recovery Act did serve its purpose. It's kind of like when you're walking up an escalator that's going down very quickly. If you take no action you will go down very fast," he said.
Yet future deficits depend in large part on how fast the economy grows, along with spending and revenues. And on that front, the CBO isn't offering a lot of encouragement.
"The pace of the recovery has been slow since the recession ended two and a half years ago," Elmendorf said. "And we project that it will continue to be slow for the next two years."
The CBO believes that economic growth will be only 2 percent this year -- and an anemic 1.1 percent next year.