Dead Men Still Ruling

Special Guests: Robert L. Bixby, Eugene Steuerle

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The latest Facing the Future featured Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby and Urban Institute Fellow Eugene Steuerle. We discussed Steuerle’s book “Dead Men Ruling” and its applicability to fiscal policy and politics today, as well as the 2019 Long-Term Budget Outlook by the Congressional Budget Office.

Steuerle said the title in many ways reflects the theme of his book. Dead policymakers are ruling over modern-day policies. Over several decades, both major political parties have locked in the federal budget with past policy decisions, committing future government resources to programmatic promises and benefits.

“It’s harder and harder, once the size of the national debt grows; it’s more and more difficult to engage in strenuous fiscal policy,” Steuerle said. “Politically the dynamic becomes much harder too.”

Steuerle also sees a lack of fiscal space, or fiscal opportunity, to tackle key issues, which he identified as a decline in “fiscal democracy.”


Hear more on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.

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