Yes, We Should Fear Budget Deficits

By Brian Riedl:

In Foreign Affairs, economists Jason Furman and Lawrence Summers take on “deficit fundamentalists” and assert that “it’s time for Washington to put away its debt obsession.”

To which even casual observers may respond, “what debt obsession?”

In the past two years, the President and Congress have enacted $2.5 trillion in tax cuts and another $2.5 trillion in higher discretionary spending (assuming both are fully extended over the decade). Annual budget deficits are about to surpass $1 trillion and are on their way to $2 trillion within a decade. The national debt has more than doubled from $10 trillion to $21 trillion since 2008, and is projected to surpass $37 trillion within the next decade. Over the next 30 years, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts an $84 trillion avalanche of new debt.

And against that backdrop, Republicans are proposing even more tax cuts, while leading Democrats are proposing a staggering spending spree that would cost $42.5 trillion over the decade, and $218 trillion over 30 years.

Washington’s only “debt obsession” is to increase debt.

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