Plan to Balance the Federal Budget

November 23, 2010

Chris Edwards has released a Plan to Cut Federal Spending and Balance the Federal Budget.

From the introduction:

Federal spending is soaring, and government debt is piling up at more than a trillion dollars a year. Official projections show rivers of red ink for years to come unless policymakers enact major budget reforms. Unless spending is cut, the United States is headed down the road to economic ruin.
The results of the 2010 elections made clear that Americans want an end to the spending spree in Washington. People fear that today’s spendthrift policies may lead to major tax increases and a lower standard of living for themselves and the next generation. The public has given Congress marching orders to start cutting spending and to rein in debt.
Policymakers should implement an emergency plan of cuts to defense, domestic, and entitlement programs. This essay proposes spending cuts of $1 trillion annually by 2020, which would balance the budget without resorting to damaging tax increases. Federal spending would be reduced to 18.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2020 under the plan, which compares to President Obama’s projected spending that year of 23.5 percent of GDP.
Short of a full balanced budget plan, policymakers could put in place a debt stabilization plan. Such a plan would cut spending to 21.5 percent of GDP by 2020, which would trim annual deficits to 3 percent of GDP. With deficits at that level, federal debt would be at least stabilized as a share of the economy, and we would avoid a Greek-style debt crisis. To stabilize the debt, policymakers would need to enact somewhat less than half of the spending cuts discussed here for the balanced budget plan.
As the plan points out, the proposed cuts would make sense whether or not the federal government was running deficits. Policymakers should be focused on cutting federal spending because it would increase individual freedom and spur economic growth by shifting resources from the from lower-return government uses to higher-return activities in the private sector.


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