Focus on Budget and Debt

Focus on Budget and Debt

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On November 15, the U.S. Government Accountability Office posted new long-term budget projections on its web site.

On November 14, the New York Times hosted a symposium in which 16 experts, including me, were asked to provide specific ideas for reducing the budget deficit. The Times also posted an online calculator so that readers can come up with their own plans to balance the budget.

In a November 12 commentary, Harvard economist Alberto Alesina discusses the potential for fiscal consolidation to be economically expansionary and addresses recent criticism of this idea by the International Monetary Fund.

Also on November 12, Brookings Institution economist Henry Aaron published a commentary that was highly critical of many provisions in the budget commission’s draft proposal.

On November 10, the co-chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released a proposal for substantially reducing federal spending on a wide array of programs.

Also on November 10, the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform issued its report. A key recommendation is enactment of a “Sustainable Debt Act” that would have strong budgetary enforcement mechanisms for achieving budget targets.

On November 9, the Mercatus Center published a study by economist Arnold Kling that examined options for dealing with the rising cost of entitlement programs.

On November 8, the House Republican Study Committee issued a press release calling for repeal of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, saying it would save $25 billion over 10 years. In fact, the program expired on September 30. Hence, repeal would save nothing.

An October 18 paper by Barclays Capital economist Troy Davig and Indiana University economist Eric Leeper, prepared for an IMF conference, discusses the circumstances in which government debt levels become inflationary.

I last posted items on this topic on November 10.

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. Read his most recent column here . 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, Impostor: 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.