Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Alice Rivlin on the Budget (h/t Mark Thoma)

She writes:

Republicans worry that spending caps will threaten national security and Democrats that domestic needs will suffer. Both need to recognize that not all government money is well spent. Democrats are terrified of entitlement reforms and Republicans of tax increases, but there will be no solution without some of each. On entitlements, Democrats have to accept that the status quo is not an option and Republicans that draconian benefit cuts are not acceptable. On revenues, Democrats have to recognize that the debt can’t be stabilized just by taxing the very rich; the middle class will have to contribute too. Republicans have to recognize that in the face of a rapidly increasing older population, it is undesirable to hold spending at historic levels, so we need more revenues. Both parties should recognize that entitlements and earmarks in the tax code are the same as spending, and phasing them out can enhance growth.