Everyone talks about the federal deficit, but is anyone really doing anything about it? In broad strokes, one camp would cut deeply into social services and entitlements, and the other would prefer to increase taxes for the wealthiest Americans while cutting defense spending, oil and farm subsidies, and corporate tax breaks. While the federal debt is a long-term problem, deep budget cuts in the short term could slow economic growth and increase unemployment, delaying a real recovery. With both parties clinging to their ideologies and playing to their bases with an eye on the next election, what options are really on the table? And what options should be? Can lawmakers get beyond the politics to create pragmatic solutions? How do we stimulate a real debate about what services the government should and shouldn't provide? With an eye toward the nation's future competitiveness, can we afford to invest in R&D, education and infrastructure? Can we afford not to?
Director, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center; Visiting Professor, Georgetown Public Policy Institute
Senior Fellow, Milken Institute; Editor, The Milken Institute Review
Senior Fellow, Georgetown Public Policy Institute; former President, SEIU