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The Hard Road to Fiscal Responsibility

Authors

  • JOHN L. PALMER,

  • RUDOLPH G. PENNER


Abstract

The paper describes the current fiscal problems of the United States showing that without significant changes in revenue and spending policies, the country is headed for a sovereign debt crisis similar to that afflicting countries in Southern Europe. Numerous committees and commissions have offered policy options that would stabilize the debt–GDP ratio in the long run. The proposals of the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and the Bipartisan Policy Center's Deficit Reduction Task Force are described in detail. Elected politicians have not been enthusiastic about the work of these bodies. Only the House has passed a budget that would stabilize the debt and that proposal is analyzed as is the president's response. The paper goes on to describe the Budget Control Act that was passed after the debt limit debate in the summer of 2011.

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