Trying Not to Freak Out About Obama's Speech, I Am

The idea of finding a better balance between revenue and expenditures, in order to bolster government programs for the poor and middle class, is hardly fanciful. A proposal from former Clinton Administration adviser Alice Rivlin and former Senator Pete Domenici, put together through the Bipartisan Policy Center, envisions federal spending rising to 23 percent of GDP by 2030 and beyond that afterwards. It does so by calling for a rough, one-to-one balance between spending cuts and new revenues. The Our Fiscal Future proposal from the Century Fund, Demos, and Economic Policy Institute also envisions larger government spending by relying more heavily on new revenues. (For more on the merits of this approach, see the lead editorial from this week's edition of TNR, which makes this argument explicitly.)