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Investing in America's Economy

Investing in America's Economy

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Published by Demos
This report was prepared for Our Fiscal Security, a collaborative effort of Demos, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), and The Century Foundation (TCF). The project is dedicated to promoting an economic path that achieves fiscal responsibility without undermining our national strength. The primary authors of the report are Becky Thiess (EPI) and Andrew Fieldhouse (EPI), under the guidance of Greg Anrig (TCF), Tamara Draut (Demos), and John Irons (EPI). Heather McGhee (Demos) contributed to the section on defense spending, Maggie Mahar (TCF) to the section on health care,
and Josh Bivens (EPI) to the section relating pubic investments to economic growth.
This report reflects the belief that the first priority for our nation is to secure the fundamentals of the economy: strong growth and good jobs. In order to reduce our long-term national debt we must refuel the engine of our economy: the middle class. We strongly oppose the idea that America’s fiscal challenges should be solved by cutting longstanding social insurance programs that have brought security and prosperity to millions of Americans. Throughout the “Great Recession” and its painful aftermath, those programs have proven to be effective mechanisms for limiting widespread catastrophic hardship.
We believe that a sound fiscal path must follow some basic guidelines:
1. Jobs first. Jobs and economic growth are essential to our capacity to reduce deficits, and there should be no across-the-board spending reductions until the economy fully recovers. In fact, efforts to spur job creation today will put us on a better economic path and create a solid revenue base. We believe there should be no consideration of overall spending reductions until unemployment has fallen to 6% and remained at or below that level for six months (Irons 2010a).
2. Stabilize debt. Over the long term, national debt as a share of the economy should be stabilized and eventually brought onto a downward trajectory.
3. Build on economy-boosting investments. We must build and maintain initiatives that directly support long-term job and economic growth. Failing to invest adequately in these efforts – or sacrificing them to short-term deficit reduction – would be a dereliction of sound public management.
4. Target revenue increases. Revenue increases should come primarily from those who have benefited most from the economic gains of the last few decades.
5. No cost shifting. Debt reduction must be weighed against other economic priorities. Policies that simply shift costs from the federal government to individuals and families may improve the government’s balance sheet but would worsen the condition of many Americans, leaving the overall economy no better off.
Putting our nation on a path of broad prosperity will require generating new jobs, investing in key areas, modernizing and restoring our revenue base, and greatly increasing the cost efficiency of the health care system. Achieving these goals, however, will require an informed and engaged public to help set national priorities.
This report puts forth a blueprint that invests in America and creates jobs now, while putting the federal budget on a long-term sustainable path. We document the hard choices that need to be made and suggest specific policies that will yield lower deficits and a sustainable debt while preserving essential initiatives and investments.
This report was prepared for Our Fiscal Security, a collaborative effort of Demos, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), and The Century Foundation (TCF). The project is dedicated to promoting an economic path that achieves fiscal responsibility without undermining our national strength. The primary authors of the report are Becky Thiess (EPI) and Andrew Fieldhouse (EPI), under the guidance of Greg Anrig (TCF), Tamara Draut (Demos), and John Irons (EPI). Heather McGhee (Demos) contributed to the section on defense spending, Maggie Mahar (TCF) to the section on health care,
and Josh Bivens (EPI) to the section relating pubic investments to economic growth.
This report reflects the belief that the first priority for our nation is to secure the fundamentals of the economy: strong growth and good jobs. In order to reduce our long-term national debt we must refuel the engine of our economy: the middle class. We strongly oppose the idea that America’s fiscal challenges should be solved by cutting longstanding social insurance programs that have brought security and prosperity to millions of Americans. Throughout the “Great Recession” and its painful aftermath, those programs have proven to be effective mechanisms for limiting widespread catastrophic hardship.
We believe that a sound fiscal path must follow some basic guidelines:
1. Jobs first. Jobs and economic growth are essential to our capacity to reduce deficits, and there should be no across-the-board spending reductions until the economy fully recovers. In fact, efforts to spur job creation today will put us on a better economic path and create a solid revenue base. We believe there should be no consideration of overall spending reductions until unemployment has fallen to 6% and remained at or below that level for six months (Irons 2010a).
2. Stabilize debt. Over the long term, national debt as a share of the economy should be stabilized and eventually brought onto a downward trajectory.
3. Build on economy-boosting investments. We must build and maintain initiatives that directly support long-term job and economic growth. Failing to invest adequately in these efforts – or sacrificing them to short-term deficit reduction – would be a dereliction of sound public management.
4. Target revenue increases. Revenue increases should come primarily from those who have benefited most from the economic gains of the last few decades.
5. No cost shifting. Debt reduction must be weighed against other economic priorities. Policies that simply shift costs from the federal government to individuals and families may improve the government’s balance sheet but would worsen the condition of many Americans, leaving the overall economy no better off.
Putting our nation on a path of broad prosperity will require generating new jobs, investing in key areas, modernizing and restoring our revenue base, and greatly increasing the cost efficiency of the health care system. Achieving these goals, however, will require an informed and engaged public to help set national priorities.
This report puts forth a blueprint that invests in America and creates jobs now, while putting the federal budget on a long-term sustainable path. We document the hard choices that need to be made and suggest specific policies that will yield lower deficits and a sustainable debt while preserving essential initiatives and investments.

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Published by: Demos on Nov 28, 2010
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Investing in America’s Economy 
A Budget Blueprint or Economic Recoveryand Fiscal Responsibility
NOVEMBER 29, 2010
A PARTNERSHIP OF
 
Investing in America’s Economy 
A Budget Blueprint or Economic Recoveryand Fiscal Responsibility
NOVEMBER 29, 2010
A PARTNERSHIP OF
 
About this report
Tis report was prepared or
Our Fiscal Security 
, acollaborative eort o Demos, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), and Te Century Foundation (CF).Te project is dedicated to promoting an economic paththat achieves scal responsibility without underminingour national strength. Te primary authors o the reportare Becky Tiess (EPI) and Andrew Fieldhouse (EPI),under the guidance o Greg Anrig (CF), amara Draut(Demos), and John Irons (EPI). Heather McGhee(Demos) contributed to the section on deense spending,Maggie Mahar (CF) to the section on health care,and Josh Bivens (EPI) to the section relating pubicinvestments to economic growth.Tis report reects the belie that the rst priority or our nation is to secure the undamentals o theeconomy: strong growth and good jobs. In order toreduce our long-term national debt we must reuel theengine o our economy: the middle class. We strongly oppose the idea that America’s scal challenges should besolved by cutting longstanding social insurance programsthat have brought security and prosperity to millionso Americans. Troughout the “Great Recession” andits painul atermath, those programs have provento be eective mechanisms or limiting widespreadcatastrophic hardship. We believe that a sound scal path must ollow somebasic guidelines:
1.Jobs frst.
Jobs and economic growth are essentialto our capacity to reduce decits, and there shouldbe no across-the-board spending reductions untilthe economy ully recovers. In act, eorts to spur job creation today will put us on a better economicpath and create a solid revenue base. We believethere should be no consideration o overall spendingreductions until unemployment has allen to 6%and remained at or below that level or six months(Irons 2010a).
2.Stabilize debt.
Over the long term, national debtas a share o the economy should be stabilized andeventually brought onto a downward trajectory.
3.Build on economy-boosting investments.
We mustbuild and maintain initiatives that directly supportlong-term job and economic growth. Failing toinvest adequately in these eorts – or sacricingthem to short-term decit reduction – would be adereliction o sound public management.
4. Target revenue increases.
Revenue increases shouldcome primarily rom those who have beneted mostrom the economic gains o the last ew decades.
5. No cost shiting.
Debt reduction must be weighedagainst other economic priorities. Policies thatsimply shit costs rom the ederal governmentto individuals and amilies may improve thegovernment’s balance sheet but would worsen thecondition o many Americans, leaving the overalleconomy no better o.Putting our nation on a path o broad prosperity  will require generating new jobs, investing in key areas,modernizing and restoring our revenue base, and greatly increasing the cost efciency o the health care system. Achieving these goals, however, will require an inormedand engaged public to help set national priorities.Tis report puts orth a blueprint that invests in America and creates jobs now, while putting the ederalbudget on a long-term sustainable path. We documentthe hard choices that need to be made and suggestspecic policies that will yield lower decits and asustainable debt while preserving essential initiatives andinvestments.

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