What Fiscal Responsibility Means
This tool from the Committee for a Responsible Budget is fantastic. It also drives home just how difficult it will be to restore some amount of fiscal responsibility. I actually got the debt down to 53% by 2018, but it took a huge number of cuts to get there. About a trillion of my cuts came from cutting troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan to 30,000 by 2013 and then cutting every defense program I was allowed to cut and as much as I was allowed to cut it. I also had to let the Bush tax cuts expire. This was all in addition to a variety of entitlement reforms I checked off (means testing SS, voucherizing Medicare, and indexing to inflation rather than GDP), and of course a full-0ut assault on agriculture subsidies. Via Ross Douthat.
UPDATE: Both Erik and I independently tried to do the exercise in a way where the cuts would be consistent with movement conservatism. This meant renewing the Bush tax cuts and keeping our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan at currently planned levels, as well as no defense cuts. Then adopting every single possible cut to entitlements, as well as agriculture subsidies and slashing foreign economic aid, the best either of us could do was 72% – which is still 6% higher than current projections. This, of course, will be taken as proof that the tool has an anti-conservative bias.