Why a balanced approach is the only option

The Bush tax cuts, and plugging corporate tax loopholes, are on the table in the world of reality, if not the world of politics.

Mike Owen
Mike Owen

It has been said that there are many ways to skin a cat — not that I’d be willing to try any of them.

Likewise, there might be many serious ways to balance the federal budget — not that enough people in Washington are willing to try any of them. And some have closed the door on the only real way to do it: with balance.

Even the House speaker says all options must be on the table, except revenues. This, despite the fact that lost revenues holds a greater share of our building debt than any other single cause.

CBPP graph on deficit causes
This Center on Budget and Policy Priorities graph illustrates shares of the current and future deficits, by cause. Note the orange bar — Bush-era tax cuts.

As Kathy Ruffing and James Horney point out in their recent paper for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

By themselves, in fact, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will account for almost half of the $20 trillion in debt that, under current policies, the nation will owe by 2019. The stimulus law and financial rescues will account for less than 10 percent of the debt at that time. …

The President and Congress could make major progress toward stabilizing the debt for the coming decade by letting all of the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule at the end of 2012.

The fact is, we cannot afford not to use a balanced approach to the deficit and debt challenges facing the United States now and in the future.

The Bush tax cuts, and plugging corporate tax loopholes, are on the table in the world of reality, if not the world of politics. It is impossible to avoid their relationship to the debt, even if, somehow, people are finding it possible to ignore them.

Posted by Mike Owen, Assistant Director

Author: iowapolicypoints

The Iowa Policy Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides research and analysis to engage Iowans in state policy decisions. We focus on tax and busget issues, the Iowa economy, and energy and environmental policy. By providing a foundation of fact-based, objective research and engaging the public in an informed discussion of policy alternatives, IPP advances effective, accountable and fair government.

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