Focus on Budget and Debt

Focus on Budget and Debt

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On January 6, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would raise the deficit by $230 billion over the next 10 years.

In a January 6 blog post, budget expert Stan Collender explained why the Republicans’ campaign promise to cut $100 billion from this year’s budget was foolish. Since we are already well into fiscal year 2011, which began on Sept. 1, much of this year’s budget has already been spent, making large cuts in spending a practical impossibility.

Also on January 6, the Federal Reserve Board posted a working paper which estimates that deterioration of the U.S. fiscal position will add 60 basis points (0.6 percentage points) to long-term bond yields by 2015.

And on January 6, Treasury secretary Tim Geithner wrote a letter to the congressional leadership warning of dire consequences if the debt limit isn’t raised shortly.

In a January 5 article, USA Today reported that so-called earmarks have actually reduced highway spending because they count against states’ share of federal gasoline taxes. Since the money can’t be used for alternate projects, the money often goes unspent when the earmarked project is abandoned.

Also on January 5, former assistant secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb published a commentary explaining how $1 trillion can be cut from the defense budget without endangering national security.

Also on January 5, I was interviewed by Salon.com reporter Andrew Leonard on what would happen if the debt limit isn’t increased.

On January 3, a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll found that 61 percent of people would rather raise taxes on the rich to balance the budget than cut defense, Social Security or Medicare.

On January 2, Council of Economic Advisers chairman Austan Goolsbee warned that if Congress fails to raise the debt limit there could be serious financial consequences.

I last posted items on this topic on December 30.

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, 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.