Focus on Budget and Debt

Focus on Budget and Debt

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An April 21 YouGov poll found majority support for cutting only one program: foreign aid. And for many programs more people favored increased spending over decreased spending. These include Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits, health research, education, highways, and science and technology.

In an April 21 commentary, economists Lars Calmfors and Simon Wren-Lewis examine the effectiveness of fiscal councils in contributing to fiscal stability.

An April 20 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that two-thirds of the budget cuts in Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan would come from programs that benefit those with lower incomes.

An April 20 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that people oppose Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare by a 2-to-1 margin. An overwhelming 84 percent of people favor keeping Medicare exactly as it is.

In an April 19 commentary, Jerome Powell, Treasury Under Secretary for Finance in the George H.W. Bush administration, warned of dire consequences if Republicans block an increase in the debt limit.

In an April 18 report, journalist David Weigel traced development of the Republican mantra that budget deficits can never be caused by lower revenues, only by higher spending.

An April 18 McClatchy-Marist poll found that 69 percent of voters oppose raising the federal debt limit, including half of self-identified liberals. The same poll also found that 80 percent of voters, including 70 percent of Tea Party members, oppose cutting Medicare or Medicaid to deal with the budget deficit.

In an April 18 commentary, economist Christopher Whalen urged Congress not to raise the debt limit even if it leads to debt default.

In an April 15 report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that in fiscal year 2010 the federal government made at least $125 billion in improper payments.

On March 25, the Congressional Research Service published a report on foreign holdings of Treasury securities.

I last posted items on this topic on April 20.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Imposter: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006). 

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.