As I explained in my statement this morning, today’s report on state budget conditions from the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers shows why it’s so important to restore the state fiscal relief the House suddenly dropped from jobs legislation last week.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
As David Leonhardt explains in today’s New York Times, Congress shouldn’t let the need for long-term deficit reduction prevent it from passing a jobs bill to address today’s historically high unemployment rates. Or as I put it last week, the current deficit to worry about is the jobs deficit.
Today, we sat down with Paul Van de Water, a Senior Fellow at the Center, to discuss the health reform law’s major sources of revenue.
At the last minute, the House yesterday dropped an extension of Recovery Act assistance for cash-strapped states from jobs legislation, which it then passed, in order to help satisfy congressional critics who complained about the legislation’s impact on the deficit. These critics are effectively saying that the cost of increasing today’s budget deficits outweighs the benefit of helping states avert massive cuts in services and tax increases.
Members of Congress who are opposing the pending jobs legislation on the grounds that it isn’t fully paid for and will increase the current deficit are focusing on the wrong deficit. Yes, we have a long-term budget deficit that we need to take very seriously. But the current deficit to worry about right now is the jobs deficit.
President Obama’s budget commission which is supposed to craft a plan by year-end to significantly reduce budget deficits and debt in the coming years, showed signs of veering off course this morning on the question of what kind of “debt” needs controlling. That may sound technical but it could prove important, focusing attention on a measure of our fiscal situation that makes little economic sense.
Today, we sat down with Paul Van de Water, Senior Fellow, to discuss some of the major provisions in the health reform law that will help reduce the deficit.
Misplaced budgetary concerns are impeding major legislation that would create and preserve jobs, continue unemployment and health benefits for those who are out of work, and fix Medicare’s flawed payment formula for physicians for several years.
Last night, the Center’s executive director, Robert Greenstein, received the 2010 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize, from the American Academy of Political and Social Science “to honor those whose careers in the academic or public arena have been dedicated to the use of social science research to improve public policy.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan was U.S. Senator from New York, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, official in four presidential administrations, Harvard professor, prolific author, and leading public intellectual on a wide range of domestic and international issues.
Has the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just upped its cost estimate for the new health care law by $115 billion, as several media outlets are reporting? Not at all.