by Conor Friedersdorf
Progressive deficit hawk Derek Thompson asks for specifics at Ezra's blog:
You don't see many liberal economists writing about the best places to cut domestic spending in the next few years. But maybe they should be -- if only for the selfish reason that it might clear the way for their spending ideas. When I asked Adam Hersh, an economist from the Center for American Progress, to identify some non-security discretionary items he could part with in exchange for infrastructure money, he acknowledged that the pickings might be slim. But there are still pickings.
"You could shift spending from activities with low stimulating multipliers to higher job multipliers -- like shifting timber subsidies toward infrastructure and R&D," Hersh said. Cut farm subsidies, eliminate duplicate and wasteful domestic programs, and throw in the president's promise to freeze non-security discretionary spending and federal wages, and you've got tens of billions of dollars that could offset spending projects under the conservative House's cut-go rules. Who knows if this would lure Republicans across the aisle. But what's the harm in identifying cuts that would make important initiatives more palatable to moderates?