British Austerity: Should the US Try Cutting Costs UK-Style?

Ideas in Action with Jim Glassman is a new half-hour weekly series on ideas and their consequences.

British leaders are adopting a plan to cut public spending in that country by $131 billion dollars. The revolutionary plan will cut public housing subsidies by 80% and could cost the jobs of as many as 750,000 public sector employees. By cutting public spending and raising some taxes, government leaders are hoping to avoid a second recession and whittle down the budget deficit. With the US facing record budget deficits, and the last election seen as a referendum on overspending by the federal government, what can US leaders learn from the British?

Transcript

JIM GLASSMAN:

Welcome to Ideas in Action a television series about ideas and their consequences. I'm Jim Glassman. Imagine a country where they're cutting housing subsidies, laying off government workers, raising consumption taxes, and doubling tuition at state run colleges, all in the name of austerity. No, it's not some future America envisioned by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles; it's Britain, today. It's all part of Prime Minister David Cameron's prescription to save the U.K. but is it good medicine for America as well? Joining me to explore this topic are Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget at the New America Foundation; Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute; and Michael Ettlinger, vice president for economic policy at the Center for American Progress. The topic this week: America's economic future, is London calling? This is Ideas in Action.


ANNOUNCER:

Funding for Ideas in Action is provided by Investor's Business Daily. Every stock market cycle is led by America's never ending stream of innovative new companies and inventions. Investor's Business Daily helps investors find these new leaders as they emerge. More information is available at Investors.com.


JIM GLASSMAN:

Britain's new Prime Minister, David Cameron, has unveiled a budget plan that cuts 131 billion dollars from the national budget. The plan makes deep cuts in entitlement spending and could put up to 750 thousand government employees out of work. Some of the key provisions in the plan are; a two year pay freeze for most public sector workers, increase the retirement age from 65 to 66, raise the capital gains tax on high earners from 18 to 28 percent, raise the value-added tax from 17.5 percent to 20 percent, and cut the corporate tax rate to 24 percent over 3 years, and cut the tax rate on small businesses to 20 percent. Maya you have written about this plan, is David Cameron's big idea really so revolutionary?


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

Well I think given where we've come in the past years where the U.S. wasn't the only country that was borrowing excessively but certainly Britain was and other countries around the world, this pivot from the period of borrowing into dealing with deficits and debt it is-- it's groundbreaking, it's bold, it's big. One of the interesting things is that Britain did it before it had to and let's hope that's the model that we follow as well, right, so it's not that the markets were beating up on their economy saying changes have to be made, they knew it was coming so they put out an incredibly bold plan to hopefully prevent markets from turning against them.


JIM GLASSMAN:

You know Michael, we hear Paul Krugman and others say that austerity is exactly the wrong policy-- that we tried that during the depression and we still got, if not a recession, we've got the-- certainly a sluggish economy, is this the time to be cutting?


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

This is not the time to be cutting. You know I-- I agree with Maya that we need to be ahead of the curve and ahead of markets when we move to a more austere budget, when we start getting our deficits under control, and actually we ought to be doing things now that will put in place the mechanisms that will allow us to do that in the future. But we shouldn't actually be putting in place austerity measures, cutting spending, raising taxes dramatically right now because it will put the brakes on what is a fragile economy and a fragile recovery and I think in the U.K. they're making a mistake. I think they're right to be thinking about these issues and acknowledging that the-- the deficits are unsustainable for the long term, but doing this much this fast is a real danger.


JIM GLASSMAN:

And yet-- so far haven't economic indicators turned up and hasn't-- you know the markets haven't gotten all upset at some kind of coming disaster in Britain.


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

Well I think one thing you're seeing is there's a value-added tax coming, an increase coming in January 1st so there's probably a lot-- there's a lot of behavior right now that's being motivated by the coming things so that people are taking actions now in anticipation of--


JIM GLASSMAN:

Oh so they're spending now to avoid the tax later--


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

Exactly. That's one thing. And also it's just been too little time to actually measure this either way. If things were going bad I wouldn't be saying that was proof of my point either.


JIM GLASSMAN:

Chris, has Britain gone far enough?


CHRIS EDWARDS:

We'll have to see. It does good things in that it cuts across the board. It cuts entitlements and defense and domestic programs and that's all great. I'd like to see even deeper cuts and we have a real-- real world example of this. In the mid 1990s Canada was in a desperate fiscal situation, it's debt was-- rose to 80 percent of GDP and they dramatically turned course. They chopped their federal budget 10 percent straight off the top in 2 years-- then they kept it flat for about 3 or 4 years and the size of the government in Canada plunged from over half of the economy down to about 40 percent of the economy. And you know what? The Canadian economy boomed for the last 15 years. So I'm for austerity in the government sector of the economy and I think that creates prosperity in the private sector of the economy and that's what we want.


JIM GLASSMAN:

Let's focus on the specifics of the British plan and then get back to the American plan. There are roughly 61 million Britains and they're talking about cutting 750 thousand public sector jobs so if you multiplied that out, the British have a larger public sector than we do, but that's like cutting 3 million jobs in the United States. Where are all these people going to go?


MICHAEL ETTLNGER:

Seems like a bad idea to me when you have a really high unemployment. You know, they're going to be unemployed. It's pretty much that simple. And sure assuming that some recovery continues, which may well happen, I mean it would really have to take very very strong private sector job growth to absorb all those people plus just get back all the people who were unemployed in the private sector. And it's-- again as I said it really is something that can put the brakes on the economy. Those are people who are now unemployed, they're not you know spending in stores, they're very cautious about making-- you know they can't save, I mean it really puts the brakes on the economy at a very bad time to do that.


CHRIS EDWARDS:

But let's look back at Britain. Britain itself has had a great example of fiscal consolidation as Maya would call it back in the early 1980s; when Margaret Thatcher came to office she made all kinds of dramatic reforms, she changed the union laws, she floated the exchange rate, she cut tax rates, she privatized huge swaths of our British industry and yeah there was short term dislocation but after only a few years the economy roared back to life and it has grown very strongly. So you know Britain has done much better than say France-- France over the last few decades and I think it was because of those sort of pro market reforms that Thatcher put in place.


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

In both-- In both your examples the recovers you're talking about were international recoveries. I mean Canada you know, Canada's big growth came out of exports to the-- largely to the United States, which had just seen what people were calling the largest tax increase in history under President Clinton so it was U.S. economic growth which was a huge factor in Canada's economic growth. And yes there was a worldwide recovery from a recession that seemed big at the time, in the early 80s after Thatcher's reforms and changes, but attributing cause and effect I think is a stretch when the entire global economy was recovering.


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

But it is-- it is important to make the point that I think what the British government is assuming is the private sector will be able to compensate for the reductions that are going on in jobs. You need to think about those in tandem and that's a lesson for all countries that are thinking about how to pull back on government workers, which I think inevitably will happen here as well, you also need to make the business sector more competitive and I think one thing the British government's doing cutting the corporate income tax rate is something we're likely to see here. We've seen that in a lot of countries around the world that helps the competitiveness and I think this is going to be a big theme going forward, which is; how do you help the private sector be the engine of growth and the engine of the economic recovery? They need to think more about that in Britain and we need to think about that here as well.


JIM GLASSMAN:

I wanted to ask Michael-- Chris about that. Is--the United States' corporate taxes are roughly 35 percent, the British have now cut them to 27 and they're going down to 24. Do you think that's a good idea?


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

I think that we need comprehensive corporate income tax reform. I don't think anyone really defends the current system we have here and that could involve lowering the rate but there's also lots of loopholes, lots of problems with our corporate income tax system. I think it's sort of apples to oranges to say should we do what the U.K. is doing because I think that the U.K. has a very differently structured corporate income tax system. I mean, I actually think, that broadening that out, I think a lot of these comparisons are apples to oranges when we get to the United States versus these other countries because you know Canada cuts back it still has a much bigger public sector than we do, the U.K. after all of these cuts will still have a much greater spending and much greater taxes as a share of GDP than the United States does. So I think it's a little-- you know should the U.S. look to these places as examples? It's really-- it's sort of they-- even with all these cuts they still end up with a larger private sector than ours so I think it's a real different situation in these other countries--


CHRIS EDWARDS:

But it's not just the case of where Europe has a bigger government we have a smaller government. Europe has actually done a lot of things right. I mean for example they've done a lot of privatization; Germany and Netherlands have privatized their post offices, that's the type of sort of microeconomic reform we should be thinking about. At the same time we cut government spending so-- to give entrepreneurs a chance to go into these new industries. It's sort of like when we broke up AT&T in this country in the early 1980s it led to the creation of all these great entrepreneurial companies like MCI so let's cut government spending but let's also do microeconomic reforms like cutting the corporate tax, privatization, and that way to give entre-- American entrepreneurs a chance to succeed.


JIM GLASSMAN:

One of the lessons, Maya, of the British experience, which I do think has something to-- that Americans can learn from, is the fact that the public is supporting it. You know, large majorities of the public say they're in favor of this austerity program. You know-- they haven't necessarily felt the full effects of it yet but at least in theory they're in favor of it. Is that a lesson for us?


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

Who would have thought? I mean, it turns out that voters are actually well ahead of the political system in many cases, and I think that's true as well as it is there, but when your country is borrowing too much year after year-- you know the household examples don't work perfectly, governments are different than households and kitchen tables, but people still understand that changes have to be made. I think one of the elements that really helps with public support is the sense that a plan is fair and there has to be public buy in, they have to understand why it's important and they have to feel like, you know, I'm not sacrificing alone and you're getting off scot-free and I think this plan that Bowles and Simpson put out, the chairmen of the White House Fiscal Commission, is really important here. And I think it does have what we were just talking about; a fair and balanced plan that everybody's going to have to sacrifice in something, there are really no parts of the budget that are off limits, it's more spending than it is revenues but both are on the table, frankly there's something for everybody to hate. Those two co-chairmen basically grabbed on to every third rail and said this is what we have to do to deal with the budget and I think it will feel fair as the starting point of the discussion--


CHRIS EDWARDS:

I think for example, I mean the Obama Fiscal Commission; they have defense cuts as well as domestic cuts, that's great. The Republicans are resisting any kind of defense cuts so far, we'll see how some of these new Tea Party members feel about it but even aside from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Defense budget has doubled over the last decade. I mean obviously there's some fat and waste there we need to cut. Farm subsidies are another area that the Obama Fiscal Commission has looked at, I mean farm subsidies aren't something that sort of helps low-income people, they go to mainly wealthy farm-- big farm corporations. That's-- those are the types of cuts and business subsidies that we need to sort of cut those too so that people understand everyone is, you know, getting some of their-- some of their benefits cut.


JIM GLASSMAN:

Michael, going back to the British plan for a second, is there anything about it that you like?


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

Is there anything about it I like? I-- well-- no in the sense that--


JIM GLASSMAN:

You had to think about it for a long time--


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

Well--


JIM GLASSMAN:

Probably the answer's no--


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

Well I mean, I'd like it if their plan was to implement it four-- there's things I like about it if their plan was to implement it four or five years from now.


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

But do you really think markets will wait that long?


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

Yes.


JIM GLASSMAN:

But are there cuts in the U.K., let's talk about the U.K., or the United States that you would accept now? Whether you put them into effect now or not.


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

So, let me just say that I don't--


JIM GLASSMAN:

I mean do you like the idea of cutting for example government employment across the board? The 750 thousand-- cutting 750 thousand government employees or you know basically you can do it through attrition you don't have to give people pink slips overnight.


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

So I'm against almost everything-- anything that's across the board because I think that you actually should look into government and figure out where you need more people and where you need less people and not do things across the board. You know I think-- I don't pretend to be expert on how all the pounds are spent in the British budget to know whether the particular decisions that they're making are right but I imagine their budget, like any government budget has places that can be pruned without causing any great harm.


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

And it's interesting they didn't do across the board cuts. If you look at the different areas they were very thoughtful about cutting a lot on defense, interestingly what they protected; international affairs. That's something you wouldn't see here but they actually grow that piece of the budget. But I think when you talk about across the board what it basically means is we need to freeze parts of spending to make people make those decisions of what's working better and what's working worse. You don't want to do it mindlessly you obviously want to think where the best resources should be spent.


JIM GLASSMAN:

They've also-- they're also not cutting health costs is that correct?


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

Yeah they ring fenced their health care that's right.


JIM GLASSMAN:

The Brit-- one of the things that the British are doing is raising their VAT, the value-added tax, which is like a sales tax from 17.5 percent to 20 percent. There's a lot of talk about a VAT in the United States. Do you think a VAT is a good idea? A lot of congress believe in consumption tax.


CHRIS EDWARDS:

I believe in the consumption taxes, if you're going to rip out the income tax and replace it with a consumption-based system. That's fine. And the Steve Forbes Dick-Armey flat tax is a consumption based tax, which I favor. But you a lot of the people in this country talk about a VAT as solving our budget and deficit problems but look at the countries like Greece that have these giant deficit problems and Great Britain, they've got VATs in place that average about 20 percent so I don't think VATs are the solution to deficits because I think you give a governments VAT which is a very easy way to raise money they simply spend more.


JIM GLASSMAN:

And the British have an income tax as well as a VAT.


CHRIS EDWARDS:

That's right.


JIM GLASSMAN:

In the European system--


CHRIS EDWARDS:

They've got all the taxes we've got.


JIM GLASSMAN:

Now you're for a kind of temporary VAT right?


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

Yeah it's a bit of a kooky idea but I mean I think the first step is you have to--


JIM GLASSMAN:

Well if you think so--


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

Yeah really.


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

Glad I didn't have to say that.


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

No it's a good idea that might come across as a bit kooky. Listen, the first step has to be fundamental reform of the tax code. And you pointed out a minute ago if you were to announce a consumption tax today that phased in in the future, or actually I guess you pointed out, it would actually boost spending now. So it can be very stimulative. I've suggested a temporary consumption tax to help bring down the deficit and debt with a definite end to it because I do worry that it would take off the pressure of the spending cuts that we need to have in the economy. The concern of course is that temporary taxes become permanent. That's one of the things we've seen in Britain, they took their bankers tax, which was temporary and they made it permanent. So I think all tax increases like that need to be paired with really strict budget rules and a plan to end anything that's temporary. If you want to have kind of a surtax to deal with the deficit that could be good for the economy in the short term and the medium term but we can't move into overtaxing at the expense of reforming entitlements which is really the heart of this and it's something that, if we don't do that we'll never get out of the fiscal hole.


JIM GLASSMAN:

You know one of the things I find amazing about what the U.K. has done is-- just the fact that they're able to do it. Is that a function of a parliamentary system? In other words, are we just-- is it just impossible for our system, which has all these checks and balances to do these kinds of dramatic things? You know cutting their budget by 25 percent in many departments.


CHRIS EDWARDS:

It is true that both Canada in the 1990s and Britain today are able to do these big reforms easier because the British parliamentary system essentially gives prime ministers a short-term sort of dictatorship in a way, if they have a majority in the parliament. We don't have that here luckily our system as you know has much more decentralized power however we have been able to do some substantial reforms before. I mean Ronald Reagan's first budget in 1981 dramatically cut aid to the states for example, which was a very good move. In 1996 we reformed welfare and you know that was a very big reform but the groundwork had been laid. People had been talking about welfare reform for many years and you had a president and a Republican congress who were for it and another great example is in the early 1990s we dramatically cut defense spending in this country. Despite the so-called military industrial complex, all those military lobbyists, we were able to decut-- cut defense substantially, simply because both-- members in both parties wanted to do it.


JIM GLASSMAN:

How bad is the debt problem in the United States? Are we-- are we kind of exaggerating it? I mean we have certainly-- certainly we have the bonds that everybody wants to buy which is to say the debt that people want to invest in. Are we kind of exaggerating this problem?


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

I think we're exaggerating it for 2010, 2011, maybe 2012, I don't think we're exaggerating the risks of having a long term sustained deficits of you know 4 or 5 or 6 percent of GDP. I don't think that risk of that is exaggerated. I do think there's exaggeration of the damage of the short-term deficits.


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

But it's interesting it's the fact that we suddenly had trillion dollar deficits, which weren't the problems themselves because those were the response to a very severe economic downtown--


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

Result of.


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

And the right thing-- the result of and the response to-- and necessary but that's what kind of woke up the country and policy makers and created this Fiscal Commission which is going to allow us to take the actions on the medium term, meaning the next sort of 3 to 10 years and the long term beyond, because the country is so aware of this as a problem. So they sort of woke up for the wrong reason, the fact that we had this huge deficits wasn't the problem, we don't need to fix it this year but we really need to get on top of fixing it very quickly and I don't think people should worry that we're going to reduce the deficit too much. Just given our political system that's really not going to be our problem, it's that we'll delay for too long.


JIM GLASSMAN:

And you think that we will cut it too much. I mean do you think the political forces are moving in the United States to the extent that something's actually going to get done?


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

I think eventually we'll do something. I mean I'm not-- I am worried that there could be an overreaction in the short-term. I am worried about that. I think we are moving to getting something done in the long-term and it's just going to be a long, brutal, ugly process because there's really fundamental disagreements about how to do that.


JIM GLASSMAN:

Entitlements. I mean, you know, let me ask you Chris. You know when you talk about the dramatic things that the British are doing, you know in cutting employment for example, I mean none of that really-- I mean that stuff just pales compared to the obligations that we have-- the United States has with social security and Medicare. I mean can really anything be done to cut the deficit and the debt without attacking entitlements?


CHRIS EDWARDS:

Well we need to cut-- I think we need to cut everything. And both for sort of fairness reasons and both because I think the problem is everywhere. There's waste and overspending everywhere. I think there is broad agreement that, for example, with social security we should start raising the retirement age. The Obama Fiscal Commission recommended that. I think that's a great cut. I think people understand that if you explain that people are living longer--


JIM GLASSMAN:

We've already done that--


CHRIS EDWARDS:

It makes sense for-- Oh right.


JIM GLASSMAN:

The 82 Commission already did that.


CHRIS EDWARDS:

Right so let's raise it--


JIM GLASSMAN:

How high would you like it to be? 70?


CHRIS EDWARDS:

I would raise it--


JIM GLASSMAN:

80?


CHRIS EDWARDS:

--Along with other--


JIM GLASSMAN:

90?


CHRIS EDWARDS:

I would raise it along with other reductions in benefits until the system is sort of solvent. I mean so for example we could reduce the growth rate in benefits, we could move to a system with private accounts to social security like countries like Australia have done. So you know there's a lot of good examples of government reforms around the world that we ought to be looking at.


JIM GLASSMAN:

What about entitlements?


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

Well to answer your question we certainly cannot fix the problem without fixing entitlements. Even if you were to get the budget balanced or something short of that sort of a small manageable deficit without doing entitlements it would start to grow again the next year because the problems we have in this country are from health care cost and aging and that means they manifest themselves in social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and we have to make changes to those programs and we have to make them as soon as possible so they can be-- put in gradually so people have time to prepare. So like Chris said, I mean I think asking people to live longer, who are living longer, let's hope we all live longer but we should also have to work--


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

Sure.


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

--Work longer to compensate for that. I think slowing the growth of benefits for people in the well off end of the spectrum and bringing them up for people who depend on the programs.


JIM GLASSMAN:

I want to ask each of you how optimistic you are or pessimistic about the United States addressing the debt problem. Whether we do it the way the British have done it or not. Do we have the political will to do it?


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

I think we do. You know, my views, every time I have a discussion like this and I talk to people about how we're going to address the long-term deficit picture and I say well we need to raise taxes. Well you can't do that. You know or we need to address entitlements. No there's no way politically we can do that. And you go through the list and everyone tells you how all of these objects are immovable but it's also impossible that we're going to run deficits as high as currently are projected so I think there's going to be a gradual realization that some of these immovable objects have to be moved and I think, you know, it will take a while for us to all come together around the deal to do that but I just the forces of markets and just the reality of the situation is going to drive us to that, kicking and screaming perhaps, but I think we will be driven to a solution to this.


JIM GLASSMAN:

So overall this deficit reduction commission when it came out, started sort of leaking some of its ideas there was a huge amount of push back from all sorts of politicians but I think economists tend to think that the ideas are pretty good.


MICHAEL ETTLINGER:

There's a mix of ideas some of which I embrace some of which I don't embrace. Every one of us would have a different mix of things that we like and don't like in there.


CHRIS EDWARDS:

But it is true that politics is often a problem. I mean I can sit down with Maya and Michael and probably and you and design a good plan to fix the budget that we could all agree on with our different political perspectives. I think that when politics gets involved it's really problematic. We should be able to sit down and get a good deal.


JIM GLASSMAN:

So just to get back to my wrap up question. Are you optimistic that that will happen or do you think the politics are going to prevent it?


CHRIS EDWARDS:

In the long run I think we will substantially cut spending in this country. We have to. We're running trillion dollar deficits. You know the government now is about 25 percent of GDP, you look at the long range projections and they show the federal government growing up to you know 40-- 40 percent of GDP in 20 or so years-- I think that's just-- it's not going to happen. I don't think Americans would support the taxes or the debt really to allow that to happen so spending will be cut. In the next couple of years it might be a stand off between President Obama and Republicans in congress but I think within 5 years we're going to start some serious spending cuts.


JIM GLASSMAN:

So the U.K. is the harbinger.


CHRIS EDWARDS:

Oh it absolutely is.


JIM GLASSMAN:

And Maya?


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

If you'd asked me a couple months ago I was really really pessimistic. I had just basically given up on the ability of our political system to tackle hard problems. I think that this initial plan released by Erskine Bowles and Al Simpson is a game changer and it's a remarkable shift because we're getting serious, they've put out a plan that shows the kinds of policies that are going to be necessary, the same thing that Britain did but people-- you know a realistic plan but people are paying attention here and as a result I think no longer can you be for nothing or just tax cuts or just spending increases or wishful thinking that we could grow our way out of it. And now people are starting to debate the policies so my hope is that we now switch from dig our heels in the ground mode into really negotiation and sooner or later cooperation mode and I think that those on the right who are opposed to any kind of tax increase at all need to recognize that if we wait this out they're going to get much larger tax increases, probably a new revenue stream like a VAT if we wait too long. And those on the left who don't want to make any changes to entitlements even for sort of upper and middle class people we're going to end up losing the safety net if we don't protect it by reforming these entitlements so I think the critical question is can we shift from getting people to understand that this is a problem into really cooperating on a solution. And I think it goes from this commission to presidential leadership, Obama is going to have to get involved in this, and I think we're going to have to look for members in congress who want to cooperate and compromise in a bipartisan way.


JIM GLASSMAN:

Thank you Maya, thank you Chris, and thank you Michael.


MAYA MACGUINEAS:

Thank you.


JIM GLASSMAN:

And before we go I want to remind viewers that you can catch Ideas in Action whenever and wherever you choose. To watch complete shows just go to our website ideasinactiontv.com or download a podcast from the iTunes store. That's it for this week's Ideas in Action. I'm Jim Glassman; thanks for watching.


ANNOUNCER:

For more information visit us at ideasinactiontv.com. Funding for Ideas in Action is provided by Investor's Business Daily. Every stock market cycle is led by America's never ending stream of innovative new companies and inventions. Investor's Business Daily helps investors find these new leaders as they emerge. More information is available at investors.com.


This program is a production of Grace Creek Media and the George W. Bush Institute, which are solely responsible for its content.


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Chris Edwards

Director of Tax Policy Studies at the Cato Institute

Is the director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute and a top expert on federal and state tax and budget issues. Before joining Cato in 2001, Edwards was senior economist on the congressional Joint Economic Committee examining tax, budget, and entrepreneurship issues. Previously, he was a consultant and manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers and an economist with the Tax Foundation. Edwards' articles on tax and budget policies have appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Investor's Business Daily, and other newspapers. He is the author of Downsizing the Federal Government and co-author of Global Tax Revolution. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in economics.

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Vice President for Economic Policy at American Progress

Is the Vice President for Economic Policy at American Progress. Prior to joining the Center he spent six years at the Economic Policy Institute directing the Economic Analysis and Research Network, and was the tax policy director for Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy for 11 years. He has also served on the staff of the New York State Assembly.

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President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

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Ms. MacGuineas has worked at the Brookings Institution and on Wall Street. As a political independent, she has advised numerous candidates for office from both parties, and works regularly with members of Congress on health, economic, tax, and budget policy. She serves on the boards of a number of national, nonpartisan organizations and received her Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

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