Sunday, July 24, 2011

Balancing the Budget is a Progressive Priority

I am publishing an e book entitled Balancing the Budget is a Progressive Priority via Kindle Direct Publishing August, 2011. I started working on this book a year ago, and had planned to seek publication via a traditional route, but given the current discussion of these issues in Washington, I decided I wanted to go ahead and get my ideas out there.

For readers of my blogging, many of the themes will be familiar, but the book is my attempt at a comprehensive though brief treatment of our nation's long term fiscal problems framed in the context of the next steps that we need to take after the passage and impending implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Slowing the rate at which health care costs are growing is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition to developing a long range balanced budget.

It is a premise of the book that we will deal with the deficit and rapidly accumulating debt at some point because we will reach a crisis point in the future; the only question is whether we will do so in a reasoned, thoughtful manner, or whether we will be forced to act in the midst of a debt-driven crisis that limits our options. It is a claim of this book that Progressives need a balanced budget more than Conservatives do because we believe that government has an important role to play in modern life to make the lives of our people better.

Lack of a long term plan to move toward a sustainable budget crowds out short term Progressive priorities: infrastructure, green technology, more efforts to support the economy in our continued period of slow growth and so on.

The current debate regarding the debt limit in Washington, DC is insane and definitely not reasoned--we are at great risk of a self inflicted harm to our economy due to hesitancy to enable the executive branch to pay the bills to implement the budgets that Congress already passed. Short term cuts in discretionary spending is the last thing that we need in a weak economy. And it is not necessarily conducive to the best policy to be discussing such important changes in the context of impending default of our debts. However, discussion of the long term fiscal problems of our nation has definitely been put front and center on the national agenda and progressives have got to engage. My book makes the case that developing such a long range plan should be a priority for progressives, both in policy as well as political terms.

I will be blogging a bit on the book here at my old blog instead of The Incidental Economist because we try and focus on research evidence at TIE. Though based on my reading of some research, this book is very much my personal version of the way the world should be. If you like the way I blog, you may be interested in knowing my thoughts.