What the deficit means

Published Mar 13, 2020. By Brad Cook.

The last column in this space (“Where are the adults in D.C.?” Feb. 28-March 12 NH Business Review) described the growth of the federal deficit and decried the lack of apparent concern in Washington and on the campaign trail about it. While the political landscape seems to have shifted significantly since that column was written, discussion of the debt and deficit has not.

The question arises, then, as to why we should worry about the deficit and the debt if politicians seemingly do not focus on it. While my suspicion is they do not want to deal with it, since it is such a large and unappealing subject, I decided to consult with expert deficit and debt hawks.

The Concord Coalition (concordcoalition.org), a national organization founded and funded by the late Pete Peterson, the founding co-chairs of which were the late senators Warren Rudman (R-NH) and Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), has been pointing out the dangers of expanding debt since the early 1990s.