Spotlight Exclusives

Groups Across the Political Spectrum Find Some Common Ground on the Deficit

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GroupsAcross the Political Spectrum Find Some Common Ground onthe Deficit


Amidthe heated deficit debates, the Peter G.Peterson Foundation decided to see whether agreement on how to tackle thebudget could emerge on its own.


TheFoundation gave six groups $200,000 each to submit their deficit-reductionplans for evaluation by veteran budget analysts. The organizations were drawnfrom across the political spectrum, and included the Economic Policy Institute,the Roosevelt Campus Network, the Center for American Progress, the BipartisanPolicy Center (with a plan authored by Republican Pete Domenici and DemocratAlice Rivlin), the American Enterprise Institute, and the HeritageFoundation. 


Asexpected, the recently released plans differed substantially. As the Wall Street Journal notes, “The bigtakeaway is this: The debate over how to reduce the deficit is truly aphilosophical one about the size of government.”


Yetthe real surprise was the areas of significant agreement. According to the Journal, “All six would curb taxincome-tax breaks, loopholes, deductions and credits, a.k.a. tax expenditures۪or spending through the tax code۪ because Congress uses them as alternativesto explicit spending.” In addition, all six plans took aim at farm subsidies.


Therewas also some consensus among the plans that a sound approach to deficits mustinclude curtailing health care spending, but they took very differentapproaches to doing so. One half emphasized using market forces to rein incosts and the other turned to government investment and innovation.


Allin all, the lesson learned may be that while the deficit issue remains highlypartisan there are areas of common ground.


Postedby Jodie


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