(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Why was this not in the State of the Union address? The deficit is falling faster in the last three years than at anytime since World War II.
To be specific, CBO expects the deficit to shrink from 8.7% of GDP in fiscal 2011 to 5.3% in fiscal 2013 if the sequester takes effect and to 5.5% if it doesn’t. Either way, the two-year deficit reduction – equal to 3.4% of the economy if automatic budget cuts are triggered and 3.2% if not – would stand far above any other fiscal tightening since World War II. [..]
History suggests that there’s little good to be gotten from cutting the deficit much faster than 1% of GDP per year. That’s especially true at the moment, given the nature of our related demographic and budget challenges.
Both of those challenges suggest that growth should be our paramount concern, far ahead of near-term deficit reduction, even as we work to improve the intermediate-term budget outlook.
So the deficit falling too fast is bad? What Ezra Klein said:
And we may well have a coincident recession this time, too. According to the initial GDP numbers, the economy shrank slightly in the fourth quarter of 2012, largely because government spending fell. As federal spending continues to fall and the effects are compounded by new tax increases (the payroll tax cut expired in January, for instance), it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see more quarters of negative growth. So, given that the typical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters in which the economy shrinks, this drop in deficits might yet be accompanied by another recession.
Hence, two things to remember in the deficit conversation: First, the deficit is expected to fall faster in 2013 than at any time in the last 60 years. And second, that kind of austerity tends to be accompanied by recessions, and we’ve already seen evidence that the same might be true this time, too.
Austerity and sequestration are really bad ideas and that is what the President should have been hammering in the SOTU.