Even if the new Economic Report of the President had actually discussed better ways to raise revenue or to make Social Security and Medicare programs more sustainable, it would have judiciously avoided using the controversial words “taxes” or “entitlements.”
But this wasn’t just semantics. The President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) avoided the substance of the “tough choices” on tax and spending policy – you know, all that “fiscal responsibility” and “living within our means” that the President often mentions in the abstract.
And with their main theme for this year’s report being “The Foundations of Growth,” the advisers completely left out an explanation of how large, persistent deficits harm economic growth by reducing national (public plus private) saving.
“At the core of the Nation’s economic growth is our capacity to innovate, educate, and build,” the advisers say early in Chapter 3. The rest of the chapter is devoted to the innovating, educating, and building while just assuming we already...