Fiscal Therapy: Balancing Today's Needs with Tomorrow's Obligations

ISBN : 9780190645410

William G. Gale
256 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jan 2018
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Fiscal Therapy shows how to make America's economy stronger and fairer by meeting long-term budget challenges while also addressing its short-term need for more investment and better social policy. America is facing a double-edged sword of budget challenges. In the coming decades, rising public debt will hurt our economy, threaten our global leadership, and reduce the living standards of our people. It will require tax increases and spending cuts to bring about a sustainable outcome. At the same time, however, America has pressing needs - from improving our schools and making child care more available to rebuilding our infrastructure and investing more in scientific research - all of which require upfront investments right now. In Fiscal Therapy, William Gale diagnoses these two set of challenges and explains why we must address them simultaneously. Fiscal Therapy shows that we can address our long-term budget challenges in ways that also help us meet our short-term needs, and we can do so without radically transforming our current institutions and existing programs. Gale draws lessons from the nation's history; takes guidance from the experiences of other advanced nations; reconciles the twin demands of economic growth and social fairness; and addresses the obstacles that America's poisonous politics and fickle public opinion present. Fiscal Therapy provides a clear, comprehensive, and optimistic approach around which liberals and conservatives can rally. One that will leave the United States a stronger, more prosperous, and fairer nation.


INTRODUCTION; 1. Introduction; THE PROBLEM; 2. Meet the federal budget - basics, vocabulary, etc.; 3. The Budget Outlook -- where we are headed; 4. Economic Effects of Public Debt - why where we are headed is a problem; 5. What would a solution look like? The right target, the fiscal gap, timing and uncertainty; ON THE ROAD TO A SOLUTION; 6. History - How did we get here? What do we learn from that?; 7. Growth - Effect of tax and spending policy changes on growth; 8. Fairness - How income distribution and economic mobility issues affect fiscal choices; 9. Politics - Political factors and public opinion as they influence fiscal policy; SOLUTIONS; 10. Health care; 11. Social security and retirement; 12. Defense and national security; 13. The safety net and government investment; 14. Income tax reform; 15. Corporate/business tax reform; 16. Consumption tax/value-added tax; 17. Energy taxes/Carbon tax; 18. Budget process; CONCLUSION; 19. Conclusion

About the author: 

William G. Gale is Arjay and Frances Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy, Director, Retirement Security Project, and Co-Director, Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Brookings Institution

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