In his "sternest warning
" to date, President Obama said the economy could sink into a "double-dip recession" unless the country reduces its ballooning public debt. Speaking with Fox News in Beijing, he called for a concerted effort to work toward long-term deficit reduction. Though he said he hasn't laid out a plan, a slew of economists, pundits and bloggers have offered solutions:
- Spend Now, Payback Later, writes Berkeley Economist "We really need to reduce the deficit after 2030. We really need to have
more government purchases now. So raise spending now, and raise taxes
and impose spending caps starting in 2013 so that by the end of the
20-year budget window the projected debt is unchanged. Thus we move the
red line without increasing the spread: there's now increased supply of
bonds in the long term to push up the interest rate on them. And we
solve both our current near-depression problem and our post-2030
structural deficit problem."
- A Bipartisan Commission, concludes The Economist.
Reducing the national debt is pretty "straightforward," write the editors. It's the
politics that mess everything up: "One way to finesse these toxic
politics would be to establish a
bipartisan commission to fix entitlements and taxes, as proposed by
Kent Conrad and Judd Gregg, respectively the most senior Democrat and
Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. Its membership would be
drawn from both parties, both chambers of Congress and the White House.
Democrats and Republicans alike would have to make sacrifices. To
preserve this grand bargain, Congress would be allowed only to approve
or reject the commission’s proposal, not amend it."
- "The Glide Path Solution" will solve our fiscal woes, argues Edward Howard
at Naked Capitalism: "The Obama Administration doesn’t understand how
modern money works. In fact, by focusing on deficit reduction, he has
increased the chances of a double dip instead of decreasing them." Harrison calls for
"increasing aggregate demand
by maintaining government spending while trying to liquidate zombie
companies and malinvestment. This would allow the private sector to
decrease debt burdens significantly over time through increased
savings. It also has the benefit of reducing dependency on foreign
sources of capital. The downside is a major increase in government
debt, the spectre of big government and a long muddle through."
- Slash Spending, Begin with the Military writes Jesse Veverka at Seeking Alpha: "Solving America’s economic problems for the long term, as opposed to simply slapping on a Band-Aid, requires tackling our huge government debt and the trade imbalance. However neither of those can be solved without first reigning in military spending. As difficult as this may be, it is vital that we do so. If not, we may never get out of the current slump."
- 'It's Time for the Democrats to Be Democrats,' writes Turkana at The Left Coaster: "Jobs, jobs, jobs. And what we don't need is to be
listening to inflation hawks or deficit hawks." Turkana argues that a
jobs program is needed to revive the economy. Subsequently, the
government will be in a position to pay down debt. Citing
NYU Professor Nouriel Roubin, Turkana calls for "a bold prescription
that increases the fiscal stimulus with another
round of labor-intensive, shovel-ready infrastructure projects, helps
fiscally strapped state and local governments and provides a temporary
tax credit to the private sector to hire more workers."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
jhudson at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.