The role of economic and political resilience in fiscal reform

Shutterstock.com

Article Highlights

  • The foresight that Americans demonstrated during the recent Great Recession are encouraging signs of the resilience necessary to face future fiscal challenges.

    Tweet This

  • A key aspect of fiscal reform is a proper understanding of how workers and households will respond to changes in government policy.

    Tweet This

  • The two largest entitlement programs operated by the federal government, Social Security and Medicare, are on unsustainable paths.

    Tweet This

  • Lawmakers need to strengthen their political courage to reform unsustainable programs.

    Tweet This

The foresight that Americans demonstrated during the recent Great Recession and the ensuing recovery of household balance sheets are encouraging signs of the resilience necessary for U.S. households to face future fiscal challenges. And significant fiscal challenges are unquestionably on the horizon. While modest changes to U.S. tax and spending policy in 2011 and early 2013 mitigated near-term federal budgetary pressures modestly, long-run fiscal challenges remain as our entitlement programs and the federal debt are projected to outpace the overall growth of the U.S. economy.

A key aspect of fiscal reform, and entitlement reform specifically, is a proper understanding of how workers and households will respond to changes in government policy. A resilient and adaptive economy can better adjust to changes in federal programs and absorb the shock of even large-scale reforms. Conversely, a static, unresponsive household sector will endure more damage from rapid or significant fiscal consolidation.

The economic resilience of the American household makes for an inspiring story—and an important one given the role that resilience will play in righting our fiscal imbalance. While the resilience of the American household and the American worker is key to tackling our entitlement problems and the fiscal challenges that lie ahead for our country, our elected officials also must demonstrate political resilience. While many American households have responded and will continue to respond wisely to recent economic adversity by preparing for a more uncertain economic future, lawmakers need to strengthen their political courage to reform unsustainable programs, primarily Medicare and Social Security. The good news is that our leaders can both draw on the public’s resilience for inspiration and rely on their resilience in the face of necessary policy changes.

Click here to read the entire paper on the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation website (PDF version available here).

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Alex
Brill

What's new on AEI

Love people, not pleasure
image Oval Office lacks resolve on Ukraine
image Middle East Morass: A public opinion rundown of Iraq, Iran, and more
image Verizon's Inspire Her Mind ad and the facts they didn't tell you
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.