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Thursday, January 10, 2013

'The Debt Reduction That's Already Happened'

Something to remember:

The debt reduction that's already happened, by Steve Benen: When it comes to most of the major political disputes in Washington, congressional Republicans insist Democrats focus on reducing the debt Republicans built up during the Bush/Cheney era. It underpins everything from the budget fight to the debt ceiling to efforts to expand public investments.
What the debate tends to ignore is the debt reduction that's already happened. Michael Linden and Michael Ettlinger reported yesterday that since the start of 2011 fiscal year, President Barack Obama "has signed into law approximately $2.4 trillion of deficit reduction" over the next decade. ...
Roughly three-quarters of the deficit reduction has come is in the form of spending cuts, which should further make Republicans happy. ... To be sure, it would be my strong preference that policymakers not make this a priority at all. What the nation needs is jobs and economic growth, and the most sensible course of action would be to delay fiscal concerns for a later day. ...
But... The conventional wisdom suggests nothing is being done to address a perceived debt "crisis," and that somehow Republicans have the high ground in demanding more and more cuts. It seems spectacularly insane to me to think the GOP has credibility on the subject given that it was Republicans who created the budget shortfall in the first place, but establishment assumptions are hard to shake.
But that's what makes the Linden/Ettlinger report so worthwhile: something is being done, whether this deserves to be a priority or not. ... What's more, let's also not forget cost-saving measures Obama proposed -- cap and trade, Dream Act -- and the GOP killed. ...
Postscript: Just as an aside, let's also take a moment to compare administrations. Obama, in just the last two years, has accepted $2.4 trillion in debt reduction through multiple proposals. How many debt-reduction proposals did Republicans approve during the Bush/Cheney era? None. Even when there was a Republican-led House, Republican-led Senate, and Republican-led White House? Yep, even then.

    Posted by on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 08:29 AM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Politics | Permalink  Comments (53)


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