The Budget

Articles from The Atlantic Monthly's archive and related links

"The $45 Trillion Problem" (January/February 2004)
Carefree spending, huge tax cuts, and—above all—unalterable demographic facts have put us all in a box. And there's no easy way out. By Nathan Littlefield

"Radical Tax Reform" (January/February 2004)
The tax system is unfair and inefficient, and fails to generate enough revenue to cover government expenditures. Here's how to fix that. By Maya Macguineas

"Nine Misconceptions About Social Security" (July 1998)
Is the "trust fund" really just a bookkeeping charade? Much of what we take for granted may be untrue. By Dean Baker

Recipe for a Depression (July 1996):
In "The Forces Making for an Economic Collapse" Thomas I. Palley, a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research, argues that our next recession might turn into a depression.
In "The Economic Consequences of Mr. Clinton" Robert A. Levine, a former Congressional Budget office economist, likens Clinton's economic policies to those of Winston Churchill in the 1920's.

"Will America Grow Up Before It Grows Old?" (November 1995)
We all know that the aging of the Baby Boom generation will have a profound impact on Social Security and Medicare. Not fully recognized, the author argues, is just how devastating the impact will be. By Peter G. Peterson

"Facing Up" (October 1993)
The cause of our huge budget deficits is not government waste or welfare programs for the poor—it's the out-of-control spending on welfare programs for the middle and upper classes. President Clinton's plan barely makes a dent in this spending. By Peter G. Peterson

"The Next New Deal" (April 1992)
A call for a comprehensive reform of our trillion-dollar system of federal entitlements, which favors the rich over the poor, the old over the young, and consumption over savings, and in other ways makes no economic or social sense. By Neil Howe and Phillip Longman

"Is the Deficit Really So Bad?" (February 1989)
This question is raised by the fact that none of the bad things the deficit was supposed to cause have happened yet. By Jonathan Rauch

"The Morning After" (October 1987)
America has let its infrastructure crumble, its foreign markets decline, its productivity dwindle, its savings evaporate, and its budget and borrowing burgeon. And now the day of reckoning is at hand. By Peter G. Peterson

"Washington: Less Red Ink" (February 1983)
An argument that the balanced-budget amendment would be a rare merging of public and private interests. By Milton Friedman

"Entitlements" (November 1982)
If all Americans are "entitled" to help, who will pay for it? By James Fallows

"The Battle of the Budget" (March 1981)
The author, executive director for budget at OMB under President Carter, spent four years and billions of dollars discovering that the federal budget is intractable. He offers friendly advice and prophetic analysis—mostly ignored, as it turns out—for his successor under Reagan. By W. Bowman Cutter

"The Education of David Stockman" (December 1981)
In this famous Atlantic article David Stockman, President Reagan's first budget director, inadvertently deals a large blow to Reagan's supply-side cause with such revelations as this: "I mean, Kemp-Roth [Reagan's 1981 tax cut] was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate.... It's kind of hard to sell 'trickle down.' So the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really 'trickle down.' Supply-side is 'trickle-down' theory." By William Greider

More on this issue from Atlantic Unbound:

Flashback: "The Balanced-Budget Debate"

Related Links

A budget simulation to give you a chance to reallocate our resources .

The Concord Coalition, founded by former Senators Warren B. Rudman and Paul E. Tsongas

A comprehensive list of all FY '95 budget appropriations

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research organization and policy institute that conducts research on a range of government programs, with an emphasis on those affecting low- and middle-income people.

"Children's Crusade" By Jonathan Cohn.
Exposes the false claim that budget cuts are in the interests of children.

"Come the Devolution: Shifting Responsibilities to the States" By Lenny Goldberg.

Project VoteSmart's budget links

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