Discussion leader: John Bartlett

Key questions:
1. Is it a problem that due to deficit spending our national debt has doubled in the past ten years and now stands at 77% of gross domestic product – the highest since World War II?
2. Why do politicians not discuss this issue?
3. Should the deficit be reduced by using the principals of the 2013 Budget Sequestration involving across the board spending cuts?

This discussion is to look at the magnitude of the Federal debt and discuss possible solutions looking at prior plans such as Simpson Bowles and the the 2013 Sequester and see if we can find a way that the government could find a way to accomplish the goal of reducing the ballooning federal debt. The first part of the discussion would be to look at the CBO numbers and the second to see if we can think of a process by which a “top down” approach could be agreed to.

This is a basic, sensible introduction to trade deficits from the Peterson Institute.
Is the US Trade Deficit a Problem?

National Commission of Fical Responsibility

Go to GAO.gov and in the search area enter the following: Financial Audit: Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s Fiscal Years 2016 and 2015 Schedules of Federal Debt.

CBO 2017 Long-Term Budget Outlook
CBO 2017 Long Term Deficits

United_ States_budget_sequestration_in_2013

“The Education of David Stockman” is a classic on how the Federal Budget is actually constructed. It was published in the Atlantic in 1981 and was expanded into his book, “Triumph of Politics.” It isn’t pretty. Recall that Stockman was Reagan’s first term budget director. No one, including Reagan, comes off well. This article was off the record – until it wasn’t. It lead to Stockman’s famous trip to the woodshed. (Full disclosure – I worked for David for 6 years. Gary)


This is the link to Steve Balmer’s new website. He’s done a 10K for the government.
USA Facts

“Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” Dick Cheney

Deficit as a % of GDP St. Louis Fed

Bill Bradley had a good article in the 4/30/17 NYT’s on the process of writing the Tax Reform Act of 1986. It seems positively enlightened and unimaginable in today’s political environment. Click here:
When Congress Made Taxes Fairer


This is an article about the choices and context of the next budget from the Brookings Institute. It was written Jan 24th, 2017 – unfortunately it’s not the way things turned out.

A Brooking op-ed on Trump’s tax proposal. https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/trumps-tax-plan-amateur-hour-at-the-treasury-department/

There’s a new book “A Fine Mess” by T.R. Reid. It’s in the library. Here is an interview of the author on NPR.
http://www.npr.org/2017/04/03/522424621/fine-mess-you-can-learn-a-lot-about-a-country-by-its-taxes It is a comparative look at our tax code.