Here are the highlights from this weekend’s editorials on fiscal and budget policy:
The Chicago Tribune criticized both parties for reckless spending in the area of health care policy. Noting both the Democrats' recent health care bill and the 2003 Medicare expansion, they suggested that there was a "health care arms race" going on that would destroy the future outlook of the federal budget. They also pointed out similarities in the passing of the two measures, such as the close, generally party-line votes and the use of budgetary gimmicks.
The Indianapolis Star called on Congress to rein in its spending, even for ostensibly good causes. They used incentives for energy efficiency as an example of something that may be a worthwhile objective, but should be put off while the US government reins in its deficits. They also believed that further stimulus would do little for job creation at this point, and that the accumulation of debt related to it could actually be hurtful to the economy in the long run.
The Kansas City Star criticized the federal government's farm subsidy program for both their cost and their lack of transparency. They pointed to numbers by the Environmental Working Group that showed that the program has not cut back payments to wealthy farmers as intended when the 2008 farm bill was passed. Also, they criticized the fact that the 2008 bill prevents some information from being released about which farmers/businesses receive how much in subsidies. Noting our fiscal situation, The Star stated that the subsidies should have been cut a long time ago, especially those that go to wealthy farmers.
The New York Times published a whirlwind editorial that touched on many economic subjects. In it, they called on Congress to pass a broad jobs package, even with the positive employment numbers that came out last Friday. The package they wanted would include state fiscal aid, unemployment benefit extensions, infrastructure programs, and summer youth job programs. They also touched on the Greek debt crisis, noting how dangerous overly expansionary fiscal policy can be, and lamenting the economic bind that Greece and potentially many other European countries may be in.