A balanced approach to dealing with the federal debt will keep both revenues and spending on the table — including spending that we make through the tax code, or "tax expenditures." That kind of spending has the very same impact on the budget bottom line — and is not pocket change, as the graph at right illustrates. In fact, tax expenditures cost more than Medicare & Medicaid, and more than Social Security.
To judge the work of the "SuperCommittee" and Congress in the coming days, keep in mind that principle, as well as these. No real solution will increase income disparity or make the economic situation worse and cost jobs.
IPP's David Osterberg and Mike Owen made those points at a Heritage Area Agency on Aging forum, "Critical Issues Facing Seniors and People with Disabilities." Click on the graph at right for slides from the presentation November 2 on the Kirkwood Community College campus in Cedar Rapids.