Anheuser-Busch Briefing Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1615 H St NW, Washington, D.C.
Registration and Breakfast: 8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
A number of policy analysts, including Ezra Klein, Nate Silver, and Chris Conover, have been writing recently about how healthcare spending is largely driving the nation’s debt. Klein finds this to be a cause for hope, as healthcare spending has slowed considerably in recent years. If there is just one factor driving the debt and that factor is moderating, then the problem is perhaps not so bad, Klein argues. While he is correct that lawmakers should focus intensely on healthcare policy and the looming threat of entitlements, there are at least three reasons why his optimism is overstated:
The key metric for gauging our long-run fiscal sustainability is public debt as a share of the economy, known as the debt-to-GDP ratio. It was just 35 percent in 2000 and 41% in 2008. At 73% right now, it not only is cause for concern, but also casts doubt on assertions about our bright debt future.
NOTE: Alex will be participating in a Google Hangout on Jan. 31 at 2pm to discuss spending, debt and deficits. Learn more and watch live here and follow on Twitter with #ChamberChat.