Showing category "Deficits" (Show all posts)

The obsession with the "Deficit"

Posted by Timothy McBride on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, In : Deficits 
The two parties have been locked in a battle for about a year now (if not longer) over the budget deficit.  Is that really what we should be arguing about?  Is that really what the issue is.  I say no, and that is not what what we should be arguing about.

First, the real issue should still be economic growth and jobs.  The recovery still is continuing, but it sluggish.  The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which keeps track of these things, marked the official end of the recession ...

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Ryan "Budget": Where's the Missing $Trillion?

Posted by Timothy McBride on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, In : Deficits 
So many people are citing the many political and math problems with the newly revised (but hardly so) Ryan budget plan, 2013 edition, released today 3/12 [http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/fy14budget.pdf ].

I have many of the same problems other have (about which I will likely write later) -- such as the at about 60-70% of the cuts come from health care, he starts with a non-starter that the Obamacare plan will be repealed which just will not happen, the plan has zero dollars of new revenu...

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Short-Term Deficits vs. Long-Term Deficits

Posted by Timothy McBride on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, In : Deficits 
Do people like Joe Scarborough really NOT understand the difference between short-term deficits and long-term deficits?  Apparently not.  [  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/05/joe-scarborough-paul-krugman-charlie-rose_n_2810389.html?utm_hp_ref=business&ir=Business ]  The brain should be able to carry two thoughts at once, but maybe not in Washington DC.

In the short- and medium-run, deficits are falling, and rather fast.  The deficit as a percent of GDP is falling from a high of 10.1% of...
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What is driving the deficit?

Posted by Timothy McBride on Monday, March 4, 2013, In : Deficits 
It is worth repeating this every so often, because this seems to have not sunk in.  People seem not to have figured out that the deficit is mostly -- almost entirely -- driven by a few factors: (1) the Bush-era tax cuts now mostly extended, (2) the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, (3) and the great recession.  Now, the TARP and stimulus are not contributing much at all to the current deficits.  

A few years ago, the stimulus and measures to deal with the recession contributed much more to the def...
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How to Fix Entitlement Programs? Fix the Economy First!

Posted by Timothy McBride on Monday, February 11, 2013, In : Deficits 
Many folks seem fixated on solving the long-term budget deficit, RIGHT NOW.  And of course that means focusing in on the big problems of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Thus, the so-called deficit hawks say that we must cut these entitlement programs now.

But other economists say this is a mistake because the economy is still fragile and we should not focus on significant deficit-cutting until the economy has recovered.

What seems to have been also missed in this discussion is that inc...

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Poppycock about "Not Passing a Budget"

Posted by Timothy McBride on Wednesday, February 6, 2013, In : Deficits 
It has become a common attack point that the Senate has "not passed a budget" in years -- according to the "Morning Joe" program (Joe Scarborough is fixated on this) for over 1,300 days.  People want to point to this as somehow an indicator of the fundamental flaw in our Legislative process.  Several points.

First, budget historians would know that until the early 1970s that Congress NEVER actually passed a budget bill.  So we actually survived as a Republic for almost 200 years without a budg...
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Why has Paul Ryan Suddenly become Factually Challenged?

Posted by Timothy McBride on Saturday, February 2, 2013, In : Deficits 

A lot of people are scratching their heads about what "has happened to Paul Ryan?" After all before the last week, he was supposed to be like Robin to Batman, a wizkid, the savior -- he had a great reputation on Capitol Hill for being a deficit hawk, a numbers guy. He wowed the press. So now, all of the sudden he cannot tell anything factual. So what happened? Jonathan Chait has a very good theory. It is worth considering. Here are the operative paragraphs:


"The thing about Ryan is that he has...

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About Me


Timothy McBride Timothy D. McBride, Ph.D. is a Professor at the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis. Here you can find musings on health policy and other issues. Opinions are my own, and not those of my employer. Contact: mcbridetd@gmail.com