Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Candidates' Budget Plans Don't Add Up and Other Links for your Classroom

  • The bipartisan Committee for a Responsibe Federal Budget has published a new analysis of the fiscal policy plans of the GOP presidentia candidates, Primary Numbers: The GOP Candidates and the National Debt. It finds that by and large, their budget plans don't add up. They rely on excessively optimistic growth projections and other unrealistic assumptions, and are too short on specifics of spending cuts and loophole closing. Under Romney's, Santorum's, and Gingrich's plans, the national debt would continue to increase as a share of GDP. Ron Paul's plan is the only one that would actually cut the debt if enacted, but it, too, relies on unrealistic assumptions, especially regarding spending cuts.
  • It is hard to keep up with all the news about China's economy. If you have to read just one thing, the latest post from Michael Pettis is always a good choice. In When Will China Emerge from the Global Crisis? Pettis explains that China is beginning to suffer a hangover from the investment surge it used to paper over the early effects of the global crisis. Now the hard steps of structural reform are needed, including a big reduction in the role of state-owned industries.
  • GDP candidate Mitt Romney often accuses President Obama of wanting to turn the United States into a European-style welfare state. In this New York Times column, David Brooks explains that if you include a full accounting for tax expenditures such as tax breaks for employer-sponsored health insurance, the United States already has a welfare state of comparable size to most European countries.
  • Megan Greene visits Greece regularly. In this recent blog post, she reports that sorrow and bitterness are growing at all levels of greek society. Greeks still want to have it both ways: They want to enjoy the benefits of euro membership but not to bite the bullet on the deep structural reforms needed to go along with cuts to wages and pensions.

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