Associates Breakfast with Donald Marron, Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (COB)

October 12, 2006

Santa Monica


Donald Marron, Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (COB), had some good news for members of the Milken Institute Associates: The federal deficit in 2006 dropped to its lowest level in three years - $248 billion. He said this is mainly due to higher tax revenues than anticipated.

But, as he told members of the Milken Institute Associates, there are some serious challenges ahead, such as aging baby boomers and the growing costs of Social Security and Medicare. If something isn't done to change the dynamics of those programs, these mandatory-spending programs will take up a larger and larger share of the federal budget, he said.

And if health-care costs continue to rise faster than the overall economy as predicted, Social Security will be the "easy one" compared to Medicare, he added.

Overall, federal budget spending is falling back into line with historic averages, Marron said. This year's deficit, for example, is about 1.9 percent of GDP, which he described as "neither large nor small" by historic standards.

Marron became CBO's deputy director in October 2005 and began serving as acting director as of December 30. In this role, he manages CBO and regularly consults with the budget committees to ensure that the agency's work and capacities meet and keep pace with Congressional demands.

Previously, Marron served as chief economist for the President's Council of Economic Advisers. In that capacity, he analyzed a broad range of fiscal, regulatory and macroeconomic policies and directed a team that monitored the state of the economy and developed economic forecasts.

Associates breakfasts with individuals of distinction are open to members of the Milken Institute Associates. To join, please contact Mindy Silverstein, director of Milken Institute Associates, at (310) 570-4634, or by e-mail at msilverstein