Alternative Political Conversation

APC Topic Index

Instructions for APC

Primary Contributers

The Federal Budget Deficit

The national policy making process is often described as dysfunctional and in disarray. One can question this conclusion in regard to some policy-making areas; it is hard to deny in regard to the mounting national debt.

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Apocalypse Soon? Finding Solutions to our Deficit Problem

“With the financial future of the nation at risk, you would think federal policymakers would take strong action to prevent the apocalypse,” wrote Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution. Leonard Burman of the Urban Institute warned of the “potentially disastrous economic consequences” of what he called a “catastrophic budget failure,” even as Jeffrey Miron of the Cato Institute cautioned that “something must change, and soon. Otherwise, nothing will stop the U.S. fiscal train wreck.” When policy experts from think tanks across the ideological spectrum seem near consensus in forecasting such gloom and doom, we should all take notice.

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"Jump" into Deficit Reduction.

1984: the year of my birth, the Macintosh computer, Reagan’s 49-state reelection, and the classic rock anthem “Jump.” Twenty-eight years later, I’m a married man, Republican presidential candidates vie for Reagan’s mantle, and Van Halen has given way to Lady Gaga. And while the latest iPhone is 371% smaller than the original Mac and costs 1254% less, our nation’s deficit has ballooned 659%. Sen. Armstrong’s $200 billion frustration has metastasized to a $1.3 trillion threat.

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Topic #1: The Federal Budget Deficit

Please Consider the following Potential Leading Questions

#1: Can the current federal budget deficit be reduced adequately by only enacting cuts in federal expenditures? If so, what areas should be cut?

 #2: Can the current federal budget deficit be reduced adequately solely by enacting tax reform? If so, what aspects of current tax law should be reformed?

 #3: Is a combination of cuts in federal expenditures and tax reform needed to address our current budget deficit problem? If so, in our current political climate what combination is both feasible and good public policy?

 #4: What approach to cutting our current federal deficit, if any, will not adversely impede the pressing current need to create jobs for the unemployed?

 #5: What are the differences between short-term and long-term solutions to our federal budget deficit problem?

 Launch Date for the conversation: February 1, 2012

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