I’m going to try to find the link to the MSNBC segment I just did with Ezra Klein today on why the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) that Republicans are trying to jam into the debt ceiling negotiations is such a bad idea. Not for my part, but for the introduction, which laid out the issue very effectively, I thought.
(Also, see this critique by my CBPP colleague Bob Greenstein.)
Ezra used this set of pictures collected by the Center for American Progress, which I found particularly effective. One of many fundamental problems with the BBA is that it caps federal spending at 18% of the economy. The last time that level of outlays prevailed was in the 1960s, so CAP took a look at how we’ve changed since then.
Source: Center for American Progress
Life expectancy is up as is the median age of the population and the share of people over 65. That right there should tell you something about the pressures on retirement security. And of course the pressures of health costs amplify this demographic challenge
Yes, in order to achieve fiscal sustainability, we need to deal with these pressures. But that actually takes hard work, like evaluating the cost effectiveness of medical treatments. You can’t do it by mandating a totally unrealistic spending cap.