Tags: Hungerford | Boccia | budget | Republican

EPI's Hungerford and Heritage's Boccia Discuss GOP Budget

By    |   Monday, 23 Mar 2015 08:03 AM

As part of the scenario by which fiscal policy is supposed to develop at the beginning of every session of Congress, now that the president has delivered the State of the Union address and submitted a pile of documents setting out the administration's proposals, it is time for Congress to respond. This part of the process is especially significant this year because the country is experiencing the rare phenomenon of Republican control of both houses of Congress. Furthermore, the Leadership has promised that in contrast to the experience under Democratic control, the Republicans will deliver a budget on time.
 
Therefore, it was altogether fitting that on Sunday, March 22, a day many Americans devote to public affairs, Thomas Hungerford, senior economist and director of Tax and Budget Policy of the progressive Economic Policy Institute, and Romina Boccia, research fellow on federal budgetary affairs of the conservative Heritage Foundation, appeared on C-Span's Washington Journal to talk about the Republican budget proposals with veteran Sunday host Steve Scully.
 
Asked for their initial reactions, Hungerford responded, "The budget proposal fails on several counts. One is, it continues the short-run austerity measures from the Budget Control Act, and it does have some negative consequences for the economy over the next three fiscal years. I think it shortchanges the economy in the long run by cutting back on public investments, on the insurance functions of the government, and just driving down the street in Washington, D.C., or any other place, we need some more public investments, especially on roads, bridges, we need to be spending a bit more money on railroads."
 
Asked by Scully if he favors higher taxes, Hungerford said not in the short run, but taxes would have to be raised in the long run.
 
Boccia countered, "I would say what's really key about this budget is that it puts spending on a path to balance, the budget reduces the debt as a percentage of GDP from about 74 percent of the economy to 55 percent, so it balances and puts the debt on a downward trend, and it does so by addressing the key drivers of spending growth, which are healthcare programs."
 
She continued, "So first and foremost, it repeals Obamacare, and it makes important reforms in the Medicare program, as well as in the Medicaid program. Those programs alone are driving nearly half of the growth in projected spending over the next decade. So it's key that any budget that is serious addresses the healthcare programs." Boccia stated that realistically there is no chance the President Obama will sign legislation that would end Obamacare.
 
As a former congressional staffer, this writer concluded that working on budget matters was a no-win proposition for conservatives. Former Rep. Bill Gradison, R-Ohio, once candidly reminded a conference at the American Enterprise Institute that "No congressman has ever been defeated because the budget wasn't balanced, but many have lost for failing to deliver for their constituents."
 
Scully played a clip of House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., arguing that the budget should promote growth and manage the deficit by raising the GDP from the 2.3 percent path projected by the Congressional Budget Office to at least 3 percent. Given demographic trends such as the retirement of the baby boomers, even conservative commentators question whether this growth can be achieved.
 
(Archived video can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
As part of the scenario by which fiscal policy is supposed to develop at the beginning of every session of Congress, now that the president has delivered the State of the Union address and submitted a pile of documents setting out the administration's proposals, it is time for Congress to respond.
Hungerford, Boccia, budget, Republican
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2015-03-23
Monday, 23 Mar 2015 08:03 AM
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