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Facing Up: Multiple Perspectives on America's Budgetary Dilemma

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Facing Up to the Nation's Finances is back with a new "Budget Blog Carnival!" If you are unfamiliar, a blog carnival is an online "magazine" (blogo-zine) of sorts that focuses on a specific theme. This issue is all about the U.S. federal budget and the national debt.

As always, the carnival is comprised of a non-partisan collective of blog entries. While specific pieces may have ideological roots, the overall carnival is a testament to the diverse voices present in the ongoing debate that surrounds the budget, deficit and accumulated national debt.

Today, we are releasing an exciting array of entries from The Heritage Foundation, The Committee for a Responsible Budget, Econbrowser blog, ECONLOG blog and the Economist's View blog, to name a few of the participants! Here is your guide to Facing Up's Dec. 2009 Budget Blog Carnival:

First and foremost, Scott Bittle, executive vice president of Public Agenda and co-author of Where Does the Money Go?, leads the pack with a piece entitled, "The Three Questions for the Public on the Federal Budget." In the piece, Bittle highlights three key questions for the public (and American leaders) to consider: "Can we afford it?" "Can we keep the status quo?" and "Am I willing to give up something I want because the government can't afford it?" According to Bittle,

"Most of the people who've looked at this issue, whether they're liberal or conservative, in or out of government, use the same word to describe the federal budget: "unsustainable."

Next, economist Dr. Arnold Kling of the EconLog blog ponders various scenarios for resolving U.S. debt. From technological advances to hyperinflation, Kling provides valuable insight.

Conn Carroll of The Heritage Foundation penned a piece entitled, "The Definition of Economic Insanity." In the entry, Carroll stands firmly against deficit spending as a means to stimulate the U.S. economy. In opposition to recent "jobs summit" proposals Carroll states,

"These "new" ideas will fail for the same reason the past two government stimulus plans failed: governments do not create jobs."

In a separate piece, Carroll presents a series of government actions from the 1930's through modern times that he considers examples of the "...failure of government to spend its way to prosperity..." and makes his case for the government to step "out of the way."

And Dan Perry penned an intriguing article about the urgency of the debt. Perry charges both parties with fiscal irresponsibility, as he finds fault in both President Obama's deficit spending and record-increases in spending during George W. Bush's presidency. While he sees the "Tea Party" movement as impressive, he writes the following:

"After eight years of a Republican administration, the nation saw record spending and deficit levels without so much as a peep about the financial difficulties it might someday cause. Meanwhile, their solution to these economic woes are a series of tax cuts accompanied by no tangible reductions in spending."

Next, James Hamilton of the Econbrowser blog responds to Paul Krugman, one of the leading economists to argue that U.S. budget deficits are not that troubling in the current fiscal environment. Hamilton expresses his worries about current and future deficits. Please also read Krugman's writings on this subject here and here.

Also, here's another piece from Hamilton -- an assessment of federal budget commitments and the danger present in continuing on our current budgetary path.

Another exciting partner in the current Facing Up carnival is the bi-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The Committee submitted two pieces -- one about the essentials associated with tax reform and another that explores the true costs of health care reform. Both of these entries provide insight into the current debate over the national debt.

And, Mark Thoma from the Economist's View blog highlights the three ways in which debt can make future generations worse off, while covering some of the "bogus arguments" that are given in the budget debate. Thoma concludes by calling some of the Republican opposition we've seen as "unduly alarmist."

In a more-lighthearted commentary, Bob McCarty writes about the similarities he sees between the movie Friday the Thirteenth and the economic stimulus package.

Finally, in "Musings on America's Budgetary Challenge," David D. Kent provides a fun-filled look at federal expenditures and ponders the "what ifs" of potential spending scenarios.

That's it for this edition of the blog carnival. Stay tuned for more!