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POLICY INSIGHT
BEYOND THE NUMBERS

Excerpt of Paul Van de Water’s briefing on Corker-McCaskill Spending Cap

| By CBPP
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CBPP

We briefed reporters this afternoon about the new proposal from Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to limit total federal spending to 20.6 percent of GDP, the average from 1970 to 2008.  Explaining why this proposal would force draconian cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and many other programs and make it harder for the nation to recover from recession, here’s some of what Paul Van de Water had to say: “Simply put, aiming to limit spending to the recent historical average of 20.6 percent of GDP might be appropriate for the years ahead:
  • If the age distribution of the population remained the same as it was in recent decades,
  • If health care costs grew no faster than the economy,
  • If Medicare had no drug benefit,
  • If we were willing to leave more than 30 million Americans without health coverage,
  • If there were no terrorist threats and hence no need for homeland security spending,
  • If no wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan needed medical care and income support; and
  • If decisions and events over the last decade had not nearly doubled the national debt as a share of GDP.
“But that’s not the world in which we live, and it’s not the target at which we should aim.” Listen to the full media briefing: Read the full report here.