October 25, 2014

On Both Sides, Proposed Budgets Fall Short

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

Both presidential campaigns could do a better job of addressing the tough fiscal choices that face the country in the years ahead. In a recent guest column in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Sara Imhof, The Concord Coalition’s Midwest field director, reviews some of the strengths and weaknesses of the budget plans that have been put forth this year.

President Obama’s budget, she points out, includes both spending cuts and tax increases. In that sense it puts everything on the table. But it stops short of the structural reforms necessary to keep the federal debt from rising to more unsustainable levels.

As for the budget plan presented earlier this year by Rep. Paul Ryan, chosen by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney as his running mate, it promises to reduce the federal debt faster. But the Ryan plan relies on implausible assumptions and fails to specify the tax breaks that would be eliminated to pay for rate reductions.

“So far, both presidential campaigns have missed the mark,” Imhof writes. She urges voters to push candidates this year for credible and comprehensive plans that would reduce projected federal deficits by several trillion dollars in the next decade.