The Reality Of Balanced Budgets

I have a very quick post today on balancing the Federal Budget. I have previously posted on this topic here, on earmarks and reality here, and on inflation and related concepts here. The issue of deficit reduction seems to come to the forefront during recessionary periods in our history (despite the fact that the two issues are not linked). The Tea Party movement and Republican hierarchy have made a major talking point out of the issue (despite those folks lack of interest in federal debt during the Bush Administration, who tripled the debt in 8 years).

The folks at the Center for American Progress have written a short (10-20 minute read depending on your personal speed) and simple memo on the task facing the President’s Bipartisan Deficit Reduction Commission. The group has set a target of balancing primary spending and revenue by 2015. Their memo can be read here. I am urging the readers of the RM to become fluent in this process at a basic level, and to spread the knowledge to your friends and relatives. The screaming many of us have done about individual programs that may cost hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, typically reveals how little most of the citizens of our democracy understand the scale of the Federal Budget, and the services it provides. Remember friends, that a $50 billion program in the Federal Budget represents the same value as $100-$200 in a normal American household budget.

Outside of true libertarians (with whom I disagree, but who are willing to give up the services attendant to a large Federal bureaucracy), I believe that few Americans really understand what they are saying when they demand the “other party” to cut their “wasteful spending” and balance the budget. We all tend to become even less rational when we demand that taxes be cut at the same time as we are supposed to be balancing a budget. The memo I highlighted does not advocate (strongly at least) for any political view; it simply summarizes the nuts and bolts of bringing the budget into balance. I urge you all to read and consider, then jump in to the RM and comment. This discussion, as always, will be open on the blog’s comments and at The Rational Middle on Facebook. All respectful commentary is welcome.

The Rational Middle is listening…