Back in 2001--when Glenn Hubbard was a cabinet-rank appointee of President George W. Bush--this might have been useful, especially if it had been backed up by strong and vociferous arguments within the administration that we cannot afford tax cuts without a plan for controlling health-care spending in the long run and
we cannot afford to add a Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit without a plan to finance it and we need tax reform to broaden the base and lower the rates and we cannot afford to commit our army to a decade-long war in Iraq without considering how to finance it. But I heard no rumblings from inside the Bush administration of such strong and vociferous arguments.
And even after Hubbard left the Bush administration, he was vewy, vewy quiet as budget-busting Bush spending programs moved through the system
[UPDATE:] Glenn Hubbard protests that he was vociferously opposed to Medicare Part D in the administration, and continues to oppose it in his Seeds of Destruction, which is... on my bedside table... but unread and at the bottom of the pile.
Now, however, he speaks. Glenn Hubbard:
US faces economic suicide if spending isn’t restrained: The US debt-to-gross domestic product ratio is set to cross 90 per cent in a decade, with significant further increases due to higher entitlement spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Previous run-ups in the debt-to-GDP ratio were associated with wars and fell with modest spending restraint and economic growth. No such self-correcting possibility emerges for rising debt levels from social spending.... So, where do we go from here? Any path forward should be judged according to progress in two areas – reducing spending over the long term and supporting economic growth....
[F]irst, marry an increase in the debt ceiling with as much spending restraint as both sides can agree on (possibly as much as $3,000bn over the next decade).... To be meaningful, such spending restraint should slow the long-run growth in entitlement costs.... Leaving the current tax code in place in this first step provides support for the recovery.... [A] second-step discussion – through next year’s election – would address whether tax changes should promote only tax reform (lower tax expenditures and marginal tax rates) as the Republican leadership suggests; both tax reform and contributing revenue to deficit reduction as the Bowles-Simpson Commission suggests; or revenue from increasing marginal tax rates and accommodating higher future spending levels as the president suggests.... [T]he discussion of tax reform versus tax increases is a political question (though with economic consequences) ripe for public debate in the next year’s campaign, generating a mandate for action for the victor.