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Must Reads: The Deficit Reduction Syllabus

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The deficit reduction "super committee" is set to meet, and so is our own People's Debt Committee. Both groups will hunt for $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, and we've put together a list of required reading for anyone who wants the government to save money. Take a look, add your suggested reading list in the comments page, and stay tuned to more from the People's Debt Committee.

»» First, meet the members of the official Super Committee

There are tons of ideas on how to rein in federal spending; more find support on both sides of the aisle than one might think, given the soul-sucking character of the debate in Washington, which has probably made us all age about five years since Christmas.

Ending corporate welfare and farm subsidies is a proposal that pops up repeatedly in deficit reduction plans. Freezing salaries for federal employees does too.

There's less bipartisan agreement when it comes to suggestions for tax increases or reducing and eliminating agencies like the EPA and the Department of Education. But there are also opportunities to find common ground in savings as uncontroversial as changing cell phone plans for government workers.

Take a look at our suggested reading list for members of the people's debt committee (and if we had our druthers, the real debt committee in Washington, too). 

»» Rightsizing Government: Good Spending, Bad Spending (Economist)

Asks why defense spending is a sacred cow for so many deficit hawks. "So it seems to me that big-military hawks are committed to the idea that increases in the level of government spending can in principle improve standards of living, even though many of them also profess to be zealous advocates for smaller government."

»» Joseph Stiglitz: Principles and Guidelines for Deficit Reduction (Roosevelt Institute)

Recommends ending subsidies to agriculture and fossil fuel industries

»» The Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan, Summarized (TPM

        Looks in depth at the Bowles-Simpson plan, and what parts of the plan are most ambitious. 

»» Brian Riedl on 12 ways to trim the deficit (The National Review)

Agrees with Stiglitz on corporate welfare and farm subsidies

»» Connie Mack's Plan to Balance the Budget, One Penny at a Time (It's A Free Country)

Hint, it's more than just pennies.

»» Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget (The New York Times)

           Maybe the super committee can play this game as a warm-up.

»» Fourteen Ways to Reduce Government Spending (Americans for Tax Reform)

Salary freezes for federal employees is becoming a recurring theme.

»» Ten Ways The Gov't Can Reduce Wasteful Spending (CNBC) 

Slideshow offers quirky small-potatoes savings that could add up, like changing the composition of U.S. coins and turning off computers when federal employees aren't using them.

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