Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds Fear of a Debt Crisis

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Jackie Calmes


02/16/2010 - Senator Evan Bayh’s comments this week about a dysfunctional Congress reflected a complaint being directed at Washington with increasing frequency, and there is broad agreement among critics about Exhibit A: The unwillingness of the two parties to compromise to control a national debt that is rising to dangerous heights.

After decades of warnings that budgetary profligacy, escalating health care costs and an aging population would lead to a day of fiscal reckoning, economists and the nation’s foreign creditors say that moment is approaching faster than expected, hastened by a deep recession that cost trillions of dollars in lost tax revenues and higher spending for safety-net programs.

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Many analysts say the president and Congress could send a strong signal to global markets by agreeing this year to a package of both long-term tax increases and spending reductions, especially in the popular entitlement programs, that would not take effect until 2012. That is the recommendation of two new studies, one from a diverse group sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and a separate joint project of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Read the full article Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds Fear of a Debt Crisis on The New York Times Web site.

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