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Highlighting Waste, Fraud and Abuse: the FCC's Lifeline Program

Not surprisingly, when GAO sampled 3.5 million Lifeline subscribers, it could not verify the eligibility of more than a third of them – some 1.2 million households. In an undercover test using fictitious names and documentation, GAO gained approval for Lifeline service from 12 of 19 providers contacted.

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The Hazardous Trend of Uncontrolled Spending

Direct spending excluding interest totaled $2.4 trillion in fiscal year 2016 and will nearly double to $4.3 trillion by 2027, according to the Congressional Budget Office [CBO]. This is the principal source of the Nation’s growing national debt, which now stands at $19.9 trillion – greater than the size of the entire economy.

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The Unsustainable Long-Term Budget Outlook

If current laws generally remain unchanged, Federal debt held by the public – which stands at 77 percent of gross domestic product [GDP] today – will surge to 113 percent of GDP in the next 20 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office [CBO]. By 2047, that debt is projected to reach 150 percent of GDP. This would be nearly four times the average level of the past 50 years (39 percent), and well above the country’s highest debt level seen shortly after World War II.

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The Challenges We Face

Deficits will nearly triple over the next decade, surging from $487 billion in fiscal year 2018 to $1.4 trillion in 2027, according to the Congressional Budget Office [CBO]. As a share of economic output, deficits will grow to 5 percent of gross domestic product [GDP] in 2027. This pattern is due to excessive spending, not insufficient taxes.

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The Benefits of Pro-Growth Policies

Over the past seven years, real growth in gross domestic product [GDP] has averaged just 2.0 percent annually, well below the 3.0-percent historical trend rate in the U.S. Last year the economy grew by just 1.6 percent, the lowest annual growth rate in five years.

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