As co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force, we suspect that we fall into the category of those whom Paul Krugman considers “deficit scolds” (“Hawks and Hypocrites,” column, Nov. 12). Our recommendations are threefold:
- Economic growth must precede full-scale debt restraint.
- Congress should take action now to pass legislation phasing in tax reform that yields new revenues and restructuring entitlements to curb the continued growth of federal spending, particularly for health care.
- >We cannot resort to such ham-handed mechanisms as the approaching sequester cuts, large across-the-board tax increases and other elements of the “fiscal cliff.”
Most serious analysts concur with this three-piece approach.
As you have reported, in late 2010, our 19-member task force recommended a holiday from the full 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax, not the partial 2 percent cut that Congress ultimately passed. We believed, and still do, that whether it comes in the form of a payroll tax holiday, an income tax rebate or another similar mechanism, the most pressing priority is to get the economy out of “stall speed.”… Growth before austerity is our recommendation. Mr. Krugman, not all deficit scolds are alike.
Perhaps they could also call for an infrastructure bank, for nominal GDP targeting, and for large-scale federal loans to states that maintain effort? As it is "the most pressing priority is to get the economy out of stall speed" is insufficiently detailed.