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Restoring Fiscal Sanity : How to Balance the Budget - Alice M. Rivlin

Restoring Fiscal Sanity

How to Balance the Budget

By: Alice M. Rivlin (Editor), Isabel V. Sawhill (Editor)


Published: 29th March 2004
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The United States is standing at a critical juncture in its fiscal outlook. After experiencing a brief period of budget surpluses at the turn of the century, the federal government will run deficits that add about $4 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. Substantial deficits will likely continue long into the future because the looming retirement of the baby boom generation will raise spending in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. At the same time, the federal government appears to be neglecting spending in key areas of social and economic policy. The nation thus faces a vital choice: continue down a path toward future fiscal crisis while under investing in critical areas, or increase resources in high-priority areas while also reducing the overall budget deficit. This choice will materially affect Americans economic status and security in the immediate future as well as over long horizons. In "Restoring Fiscal Sanity," a group of Brookings scholars with high-level government experience provide an overview of the countrys likely medium- and long-term spending needs and the resources available to pay for them. They propose three alternative fiscal paths that are more responsible than the current path. One plan emphasizes spending cuts, the second emphasizes revenue increases, and a third is a balanced mix between the two. The contributors address the policy choices in such areas as defense, homeland security, international assistance, and programs targeted to the less advantaged, the elderly, and other domestic priorities. In the process, they provide an understanding of the short- and long-run trade offs and illustrate how the budget can be reshaped to achieve highpriority objectives in a fiscally responsible way.

"This book is quite comprehensive, lucid, and insightful. It is highly recommended as a reference for both scholars and policy makers. It provides a reasonable range of policy options to the complex issue of the U.S. budget deficit, and hence makes an excellent contribution to the literature in this area." --Meili Niu, Sun Yat-sen University, China, Public Budgeting & Finance

Forewordp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Executive Summaryp. 1
Growing Deficits and Why They Matterp. 15
Getting to Balance: Three Alternative Plansp. 31
Reassessing National Securityp. 56
Restructuring Domestic Spendingp. 78
The Impact of an Aging Populationp. 93
Meeting the Revenue Challengep. 111
Budgeting for National Priorities Advisory Boardp. 127
Indexp. 133
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780815777816
ISBN-10: 0815777817
Series: Restoring Fiscal Sanity
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 100
Published: 29th March 2004
Publisher: Brookings Institution
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 26.9 x 20.8  x 1.12
Weight (kg): 0.23