The Long And The Short Of The Budget
by Scott Bittle
The opinion writers continue to debate whether the country needs more economic stimulus or more budget-cutting – this "opinionator" faceoff in the New York Times is the latest contribution. But the more the commentators talk, the more confusing this may become for the rest of us.
We've got a recession to fight in the short term and a national debt that will reach unsustainable levels in the longer term.
Both of these problems absolutely have to be dealt with. There's a wide range of views on how to do that (the Washington Post's Ezra Klein tried to map this debate this morning). There are those who argue that there's room to do both short-term stimulus and long-term debt reduction, including Paul Krugman and David Walker. And even the Congressional Budget Office says there's "no intrinsic contradiction" between the two goals.