September 16, 2014

Blogs

Amid Misguided Debate, Misconceptions About Independent Health Care Board Abound

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A shorter version of this column is featured on CNNMoney.com.

It is often said that the most expensive piece of medical equipment is the doctor’s pen. Unfortunately, after more than two years of intense debate about health care costs in Washington, politicians still seem stuck debating who should pay for the pen instead of focusing on how to make the pen less expensive.

Can't Get There From Here

The punch line of an old joke aptly describes the status of budget negotiations in Washington: you can’t get there from here. It’s not the “there” that is the problem; it’s the “here.”

Broad bipartisan consensus exists on two points. The first is that the debt limit must soon be raised to avoid a default in one form or another. The second is that current fiscal policy cannot be sustained. Missing from the equation is any solid evidence that political leaders are prepared to do what is necessary to solve either problem.

Foreign aid: A very small part of the deficit solution

By Rebecca Williams 

A viable plan to reduce our country’s mounting deficits and debt will be built on painful choices that include revenue increases and cuts to all government spending, including entitlements and defense. With such thorny issues at stake, it should come at no surprise that many policymakers turn to the easy issue first -- foreign aid. Even here, though, there are no exceptions to the need for government to act and spend strategically.

Trustees' New Projections Show Why Entitlement Reform Can't Wait

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Anyone wondering why Social Security and Medicare should be “on the table” in budget negotiations need look no further than the 2011 Trustees’ Report issued on May 13.

Do You Believe in Magic -- or Deficit Reduction?

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Elected officials in both parties have made what I call “magical, mystery tax pledges” that are at odds with bipartisan approaches to serious deficit reduction:

The President's Debt Tour: "Game On" but to What End?

House Republicans have adopted a budget they say will make tough but necessary spending cuts to rein in our nation’s burgeoning budget deficits. President Obama says the Republican plan is too radical. He hit the road last week to sell his own deficit reduction plan, which he says is more balanced.

So, it’s “game on.”

But just what is the purpose of this game?

Let's Look at How We Spend, Not Just How Much

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Here is a trivia question: Under which scenario would Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make up the larger share of non-interest (i.e. “primary”) federal government spending?

A. President Obama’s budget

A Budget Debate Three Stooges Style

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Moe, Larry and Curly are fighting in the back seat of the car. No one is in the driver’s seat. As the boys settle down, Curly looks up and says, “Hey, don’t look now but we’re about to be killed.”

Leave it to The Three Stooges to provide the perfect metaphor for what passes as a budget debate in Washington these days.

It appears that we’re headed for a government shutdown in April and a possible default in May all because politicians can’t stop squabbling over a few billion dollars from a small slice of the budget while our overall fiscal policy is headed for a cliff.