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This Week's Think Tank

Agricultural policy, health-care reform, and a yawning long-term debt, oh my!

1) Is the problem with our food system that people don't have enough access to good food? Or that they have too much access to bad food? The USDA investigates.

2) Want to save $2 trillion in the health-care system? David Cutler and Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin tell you how.

3) As we move closer to reforming the health care system, it's good to know exactly what it looks like now. And there's no better source of data than Kaiser's Employer Health Benefits Survey.

4) Does our agricultural policy make us fat? In this draft paper, John Cawley and Barrett Kirwan try to quantify the effect.

5) The Congressional Budget Office takes a gander at the long-term budget outlook. The news is grim.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 11:39 AM ET
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Ezra can you expand on point 5?

Because CBO is presenting two scenarios, extended baseline where Bush tax cuts expire on schedule, and alternative fiscal where they are extended. And in every case CBO projects things will be better (if not good) under extended baseline than alternative fiscal.

Figure 1-3 Debt held by the public as percentage of GDP
2037 Extended baseline 75% Alternative fiscal 200%

Table 1-2 Deficits as a percentage of GDP
2035 Extended baseline -5.6%
2035 Alternative fiscal-14.6%

Box 1-1 Long term fiscal imbalance
Extended baseline -3.2%
Alternative fiscal -8.1%

I read section one of this report as a thinly veiled argument for allowing Bush tax cuts to expire on schedule. In fact I would like to see a third set of numbers showing what would happen if we started taxing capital gains as normal income.

This Report is only grim for supply-siders. My take anyway.

Posted by: BruceWebb | June 29, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

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