Focus on Budget and Debt

Focus on Budget and Debt

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On April 18, Standard and Poor’s warned that the Treasury’s credit rating may be downgraded unless action is taken to restrain the growth of debt. That same day, the New York Times hosted a roundtable discussion by prominent economists to discuss the S&P report.

In an April 17 interview, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan was highly critical of the debt limit as both dangerous and ineffective at constraining the debt.

On April 15, the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of President Obama’s 2012 budget.

Also on April 15, Democracy Corps, a Democratic group, released a poll on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which all but 4 House Republicans voted in favor of. It finds that increased knowledge of the plan’s details reduce support for it.

And on April 15, Pew published a study on the impact of a freeze on discretionary spending.

In an April 14 commentary, University of Wisconsin economist Menzie Chinn found very serious problems in the Heritage Foundation’s analysis of the Ryan budget plan. That same day, Macroeconomic Advisers posted a commentary that was also quite critical of the Heritage analysis. On April 18, Heritage denied that it was intellectually dishonest in its analysis of the Ryan plan, but offered no explanation for its implausible projections.

An April 14 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities took issue with a proposal by Senators Bob Corker and Claire McCaskill to arbitrarily cap federal spending at 20.6 percent of GDP.

On April 13, President Obama gave a major speech on the budget, proposing a more moderate approach to reducing the deficit than the Ryan plan.

Also on April 13, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on deficit reduction.

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.