Comparing Six Fiscal Plans

Yesterday at the Peterson Foundation's 2011 Fiscal Summit, six think tanks--Heritage, AEI, EPI, Center for American Progress, Bipartisan Policy Center, and the Roosevelt Institute--released their plans to cut our medium- and long-term deficits and debt. We won't get into the details of each plan (you can check them out here), but we will quickly compare the metrics for each of them.

First, debt as a percent of GDP. Heritage is the most aggressive here, getting debt down to 58 percent of GDP by 2021 and 30 percent by 2035. Also, with the exception of EPI, debt is lower in 2035 than in 2021 in all of these plans.


Next up are spending levels. Once again, Heritage is the most aggressive, getting spending down to 17.7 percent of GDP in 2035. Every other plan would also cut spending below current law to varying degrees, ranging from 20.9 percent to 24.5 percent in 2021 and 23 percent to 27.8 percent in 2035.


And finally, revenue levels. Four of the plans raise as much or more revenue than CBO's extended baseline, with the most in 2021 being CAP at 22.3 percent of GDP and the most in 2035 being EPI at 24.1 percent. Two plans, by Heritage and AEI, hold revenue at or below 20 percent through 2035.


It was great to see all of these plans released yesterday. Together, they present a wide variety of very interesting ideas to push the current debate forward. Lawmakers certainly would do themselves a favor by reading through these plans in their search to find at least $4 trillion in savings.

With all the ideas out there now, it's time for lawmakers to come together and enact a fiscal plan.