Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Way to get the economy moving again

The Deficit Reduction Commission co-chairs have come up with a big solution to the long term budget deficit of the federal government. Their proposals simplifies tax rates but raises revenue by eliminating loopholes, it raises the retirement age, cuts Medicare and Medicaid spending, cuts the defense budget and slashes domestic spending. And most importantly it reduces the deficit from 8% to 2.2% of GDP.

This is a heavy lift but Democrats have done it before. The Clinton administration cut the Reagan/Bush deficit and left Bush II with a surplus.

And the details of a final package will not likely look like this one. But the co-chairs draft report puts a lot of major pieces on table where everyone shares the pain and lays out the parameters of the solution.

This is a big deal and could very quickly get our economy moving again for two reasons:

1) The long term solution should allow Congress to move forward on an immediate stimulus. We need a stimulus to get the economy moving. Insuring that the stimulus will be made up quickly with future cuts makes this feasible. It's all about timing. You can't cut spending now. That would be idiotic. That would lead to a double dip recession. But you have to close the deficit in the future in order to keep interest rates down and avoid inflation. So, you jump start the economy now and when it starts moving you start cutting.

2) Passage of the deficit reduction plan will assure markets that long term investments are a good bet. As our deficit grow bigger and government borrowing sops up a bigger supply of credit in the economy, we run the risk of ramping up interest rates and creating another recession.

A short term stimulus and a long term deficit reduction package are the key to avoiding a double dip recession and getting our economy moving again.

We need to pressure Congress to get this done and done quickly. Do we have the political courage to move forward?

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