Thursday, July 14, 2011

The $13 Trillion Question

From Jacob Goldstein at NPR's Planet Money, Here's an interesting description of the larger picture surrounding the U.S. budgetary debate:

That $13 trillion figure is based on CBO's "alternative fiscal scenario," which CBO says "incorporates several changes to current law that are widely expected to occur... ."

For example, under current law, marginal tax rates on middle-class families will rise in in the next few years, and Medicare payments to doctors will fall sharply. The alternative fiscal scenario assumes that Congress will intervene — as it has in the past — to prevent those things from happening.

As the CBO says, "Many budget analysts believe that the alternative fiscal scenario presents a more realistic picture of the nation's underlying fiscal policies" than estimates based solely on current law.

I quite enjoy Goldstein's Planet Money Indicators, which are featured on the Planet Money podcast.

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