In my column for CNN, I discuss seven ideas for the GOP to take up after the debt crisis has passed:
1) Unemployment is a more urgent problem than debt.
The U.S. can borrow money for 10 years at less than 3%. It can borrow money for two years at less than one-half a percent. Yes, the burden of debt is worrying. Yet lenders seem undaunted by those worries.
Meanwhile, more than 14 million Americans are out of work, more than 6 million for longer than six months. The United States has not seen so many people out of work for so long since the 1930s.
2) The deficit is a symptom of America’s economic problems, not a cause.
When the economy slumps, government revenues decline and government spending surges.
Federal revenues have collapsed since 2007, down from more than 18% of national income to a little more than 14%. To put that in perspective: That’s the equivalent of losing enough revenue to support the entire defense budget.
Federal spending has jumped to pay for unemployment insurance, food stamps and Medicaid benefits.
Fix the economy first, and the deficit will improve on its own.