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America’s Future: What Should Our Budget Priorities Be? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The National Issues Forums Institute published this Issue Guide (2014), America’s Future: What Should Our Budget Priorities Be?, to provide participants a resource to deliberate national budget issues.

From the guide…

America is slowly coming out of a long recession. Unemployment, after peaking at 10 percent in 2009, has fallen below 8 percent; more new homes are being built, although just gradually. Despite the heavy blow we’ve taken in the last few years, the US economy is very large and still growing…

We have significant resources, but they are finite. What direction should we take?

The Issue Guide presents three options for deliberation:

Option One: Keep Tightening Our BeltNIF-America's-Future
Though painful, the sequester (mandatory across-the-board budget cuts) showed that we can get by with less. We should continue cutting gradually to bring down the deficits, shrink the national debt, and let the private sector drive the recovery.

Option Two: Invest for the Future
We are making progress on the deficit. We need to make some adjustments to entitlements, but now is not the time to slash programs; it may result in hobbling the recovery. Instead, we should make strategic expenditures and grow the economy, which in turn will shrink the deficit.

Option Three: Tame the Monsters
The steady growth of defense, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid are the main drivers consuming the federal budget…Social Security and Medicare, in turn, should be need-based and self-sustaining. We should get away from the whole concept of “entitlement,” which is bankrupting those programs. We also should reform and simplify the tax code.

More about the NIFI issue guides
NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Issue Guides are generally available in print or PDF download for a small fee ($2 to $4). All NIFI Issue Guides and associated tools can be accessed at www.nifi.org/en/issue-guides

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums.

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/americas-future

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