Focus on Budget and Debt

Focus on Budget and Debt

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On September 15, the liberal Public Interest Research Group and the conservative National Taxpayers Union issued a joint report recommending $1 trillion in spending cuts that both groups support.

A September 14 Bloomberg poll only found majority support for cutting Social Security benefits for the wealthy among options for reducing spending. People are equally divided on raising the Social Security retirement age. A majority oppose cutting defense weapons systems, replacing Medicare with a voucher program, increasing co-pays for Medicare, reducing compensation for doctors treating Medicare patients, changing the Social Security COLA, and cutting Medicaid.

On September 13, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction held its first hearing. Testifying was CBO director Doug Elmendorf.

Also on September 13, the project on Government Oversight published a study showing that contracting out many government services has been much more expensive than if additional government employees had been hired to do the job.

On September 12, the Congressional Budget Office published a report on budget enforcement procedures in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Also on September 12, the International Monetary Fund published a study showing that fiscal consolidation impacts heavily on the poor and will be economically contractionary in the short-run.

On September 8, the Center for American Progress published a study examining which spending programs have the most bang for the buck in terms of job creation.

Also on September 8, Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke gave a speech in which he said that while long-term fiscal consolidation is necessary, the economy needs fiscal expansion in the short-term.

On September 6, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development issued its annual report. It is critical of fiscal tightening measures in the advanced economies.

On August 19, the Congressional Research Service published a report on the Budget Control Act of 2011.

I last posted items on this topic on September 6.

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 for 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.