Why We Need a Balanced Budget Amendment

By Hubbard & Kane, New York Times - August 12, 2013

First, “the deficit is now under control” fallacy. The C.B.O. did indeed say that the average federal budget deficit would be $62 billion lower per year than was predicted before. That sounds good, but it lacks context. The C.B.O. still anticipates a 2015 deficit of $378 billion. And Uncle Sam is heading — and this is the best-case scenario — toward nearly a trillion dollars of red ink every year after 2023. In an effort to alert Congress to the danger, the C.B.O. also publishes a more realistic alternative fiscal scenario that anticipates how much will actually be spent by the Treasury in the coming decade. The realistic scenario predicts $1.76 trillion more in debt than the old baseline. For anyone willing to question authority, it gets worse. Both official scenarios naïvely assume a return to old norms of full employment, robust growth and moderate interest rates. How many unfulfilled summers of recovery will pass before policy makers will adjust that rosy outlook?

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