February 10, 2018
It is more than a bit painful to see the media all turn to the Peter Peterson-financed Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) as the experts on budget deficits right now. We can argue over whether the Republicans are pushing too far with their deficits when the economy is near full employment, but one thing that is not arguable is that we had needlessly austere federal budgets for the last decade.
While the austerity was largely attributable to the Republicans in Congress who had as their guiding principle opposing anything President Obama might do to boost growth and create jobs, the CRFB and other Peterson funded outfits provided them with intellectual credibility in pushing this position. They could pretend they were being responsible stewards of the Treasury as they were demanding cuts in a wide range of federal programs and nixing any new ones.
In reality, rather than helping our children as the CFRB and Republican deficit hawks claimed, they were keeping their parents out of work and permanently lowering the economy’s productive capacity. Their policies are easily costing us $1 trillion a year in lost output (5.0 percent of GDP).
It is unfortunate that a long record of being disastrously wrong on budget policy is apparently a credential for getting taken seriously by major media outlets in debates over the federal budget.