Keeping the economy strong will require addressing two distinct but related problems. Steadily rising federal debt makes it harder to grow our economy, boost our living standards, respond to wars or recessions, address social needs, and maintain our role as a global leader. At the same time, we have let critical investments lag and left many people behind even as overall prosperity has grown.
Our latest guest, William Gale, is a leading authority on how federal tax and budget policy affects the economy, and in his latest book, Fiscal Therapy: Curing America's Debt Addiction and Investing in the Future, Gale provides a direct discussion of the challenges posed by the imbalances between spending and revenue.
America is facing a gradual decline as debt accumulates and delay raises the costs of action. But there is hope: fiscal responsibility aligns with both conservative and liberal goals and citizens of all stripes can support the notion of making life better for our children and grandchildren.
We face significant fiscal challenges but, if we are wise enough to seize our opportunities, perhaps we can strengthen our economy, increase opportunity, reduce inequality, and build better lives for our children and grandchildren. We do not have to kill popular programs or starve government.
As the book discusses, one main goal of fiscal reform is to maintain the vital functions that government provides. To act responsibly, pay for the government we want, and shape that government in ways that serve us best.
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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.