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America in 2030: A Fiscal Portrait

The Congressional Budget Office’s long-term budget forecasts on the national fiscal health are highly educated guesswork, but guesswork just the same. The 2030s are pretty far off, and the degree of forecasting uncertainty is higher than it once was. As CBO explains “the current degree of economic dislocation exceeds that of any previous period in…

Everything Should Not be on the Budget Cutting Table: The Case for Expanding Public Investment

The International Monetary Fund recently scolded the U.S. government for running large budget deficits. Leaving aside the absurdity of cutting deficits when unemployment is still extremely high, it’s clear that at some point – as joblessness declines toward 5 percent – deficit reduction will need to begin in earnest. But the real question is how…

The Bunning Blockade Ends

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), who had held up Senate passage of a $10 billion short-term benefits extension for days, finally relented yesterday and allowed the measure to come for a vote. Bunning’s objection to unanimous consent to pass the package resulted in the elapsing of funding for a host of federal programs, including infrastructure projects,…

Grumpy Old Party

If you are unemployed, or if you are one of the millions of people hanging on to cancelled employer-sponsored health insurance via COBRA, your life will take a turn for the more insecure on Sunday, thanks to Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), who wants to make a symbolic gesture about federal spending. Bunning is refusing to let…

Don’t Tread on My Medicare

To continue some thoughts about the growing contradiction between conservative policy predilections and the GOP's violent anti-spending rhetoric, there's a specific political factor that's intensifying the dilemma: the heavy, heavy reliance of Republicans on support from seniors. Several smart commentators (Chait, Douthat, and Larison) have drawn attention to a new Pew survey on generational political attitudes which shows…

Facing the Hunger Problem

Yesterday’s release of the USDA’s report on hunger in America was the latest dismal dispatch from the recession’s frontlines. According to the report (PDF), 14.6 percent of Americans experienced food insecurity in 2008, up from 11.1 percent in 2007. Translated in raw numbers, that’s 49 million individuals – nearly 17 million of them children –…

Reform and Its Discontents

It has become fashionable among some progressives to lambast the administration and congressional Democrats for the slow pace and incremental approach they have taken in trying to pass health reform legislation. (For a nice sampling, check out some of the posts and comments at Open Left.) Ezra Klein highlights one emblematic strain among progressive critics,…