BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Fix the Jobs Deficit First (It Can Help Fix the Debt)
We don’t have an immediate deficit or debt problem. The Congressional Budget Office projects that, “If current laws generally remained in place, federal debt held by the public would decline slightly relative to GDP over the next several years” before it starts rising again. That means we have time to craft a sound longer-term budget deal while, in the meantime, we enact appropriate policies to boost the recovery and restore high levels of employment that entail temporarily higher budget deficits.
Too much deficit reduction, too soon, remains a threat to the recovery and job creation, and a weak economy is not conducive to forging a sustainable bipartisan deficit-reduction agreement. One important thing that helped President Clinton and Congress achieve balanced budgets and declining debt for four straight years starting in 1998 was a very strong economy.