Focus on Budget and Debt

Focus on Budget and Debt

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On February 1, YouGov released a poll which asked people about various programs and whether they would like to increase or cut spending for them. Spending on culture and the arts is the only one that a majority of people are willing to cut.

Also on February 1, Rasmussen released a poll showing that only 40 percent of people know that most federal spending goes to national defense, Social Security and Medicare; 38 percent of people thought this statement was false. Only 58 percent of people know that the U.S. spends more on defense than any other country; in fact, it spends almost seven times as much as the country with the second largest defense budget.

And on February 1, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on the outlook for the economy and the budget. Testifying were economists Richard Berner, Simon Johnson, and David Malpass.

On February 1, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published a study discussing the deep flaws in a proposal by Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to arbitrarily cap federal spending at 20.6 percent of GDP.

In a January 31 commentary, Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs blamed excessive tax cutting for many of our nation’s economic problems.

In a January 31 blog post, University of Wisconsin economist Menzie Chinn examined the impact of fiscal tightening in the U.K., where it appears to have triggered a sharp economic relapse, contrary to conservative dogma.

In a January 27 commentary, Dartmouth economist David Blanchflower was critical of fiscal tightening in the U.K., saying that it was premature and likely responsible for the nation’s negative economic growth in the fourth quarter.

On December 10, the Congressional Research Service published a report on continuing resolutions, a budgetary device that is used when Congress fails to pass regular appropriations bills. The most recent CR expires on March 4.

I last posted items on this topic on January 28.

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.