My book is published
May 7, 2012 3 Comments
My book Balancing the Budget is a Progressive Priority has been published by Springer. It is also available from Amazon, itunes and other places. It should be available in kindle format within several days (I self published a direct to kindle version in August 2011; this is updated).
The crux of my argument is that Progressives need a balanced federal budget more than Conservatives, both to provide room for new government action when needed (economic stimulus, infrastructure, education, energy), as well as to protect the key programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. For this reason, developing a long term plan to balance the federal budget should be at the top of the Progressive agenda, because without doing so, the ability to address Progressive priorities via government action will be rendered moot.
We cannot and should not get to a sustainable budget immediately, but we need a credible long term plan. Such a plan might even make short term investments more plausible. Balancing provides such a plan that will require an increase in taxes compared to historical levels and a reduction in federal spending as compared to future default spending over the next several decades. Specifically, the book suggests:
- Next steps on health reform that will hold up regardless of what the Supreme Court rules. The heart of the proposal is federally-guaranteed catastrophic insurance implemented via Medicare, with gap insurance available in state-based exchanges. Without profound health reform, we will never have another balanced budget.
- Reform of Social Security sooner rather than later with Progressive goals such as increasing the minimum benefit at the fore. Social Security should be taken off the table by fixing its long range fiscal imbalance.
- Proposals for how the mix of taxes used by the federal government might be changed to bring in enough revenue to fund a plausible level of spending.
- A way to think about Military spending as compared to the rest of the budget.
The CBO noted last week that delay of hard decisions only leaves of us with few options. I agree, and the federal budget will one day be overhauled substantially; the premise of the book is that Progressives should drive this agenda to best represent our long term policy interests and goals.