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The Budget Deficit: How Big An Issue And What Should Be Done About It?

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Date and time
Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two prominent budget experts, Dean Baker, Ph.D. and Joshua B. Gordon, Ph.D., provide their expert analysis and observations on some of the the big issues surrounding the debate over the federal budget deficit. The Center for Policy Studies presents this forum, which is moderated by Case Western Reserve University Associate Professor of Economics Mark Votruba, Ph.D.

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He is frequently cited in economics reporting in major media outlets, including *The New York Times*, *Washington Post*, *CNN*, *CNBC*, and *National Public Radio*. He writes a weekly column for the *Guardian Unlimited* (UK), and his blog, *Beat the Press*, features commentary on economic reporting. His analyses have appeared in many major publications, including *the Atlantic Monthly*, *the Washington Post*, t*he London Financial Times*, and *the New York Daily News*. He received his Ph.D in economics from the University of Michigan. Dean has written several books, his latest being *Taking Economics Seriously* (MIT Press) which thinks through what we might gain if we took the ideological blinders off of basic economic principles, *False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy* (PoliPoint Press, 2010) about what caused - and how to fix - the current economic crisis. In 2009, he wrote *Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy* (PoliPoint Press), which chronicled the growth and collapse of the stock and housing bubbles and explained how policy blunders and greed led to the catastrophic - but completely predictable - market meltdowns. He also wrote a chapter ("From Financial Crisis to Opportunity") in *Thinking Big: Progressive Ideas for a New Era* (Progressive Ideas Network, 2009). His previous books include *The United States Since 1980* (Cambridge University Press, 2007); *The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer* (Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2006), and *Social Security: The Phony Crisis* (with Mark Weisbrot, University of Chicago Press, 1999). His book *Getting Prices Right: The Debate Over the Consumer Price Index* (editor, M.E. Sharpe, 1997) was a winner of a Choice Book Award as one of the outstanding academic books of the year. Among his numerous articles are "The Benefits of a Financial Transactions Tax," *Tax Notes* 121, no. 4, 2008; "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Review of the Evidence," (with David R. Howell, Andrew Glyn, and John Schmitt), *Capitalism and Society* 2, no. 1, 2007; "Asset Returns and Economic Growth," (with Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman), *Brookings Papers on Economic Activity*, 2005; "Financing Drug Research: What Are the Issues," *Center for Economic and Policy Researc*h, 2004; "Medicare Choice Plus: The Solution to the Long-Term Deficit Problem," *Center for Economic and Policy Research*, 2004; The Benefits of Full Employment (with Jared Bernstein), *Economic Policy Institute*, 2004; "Professional Protectionists: The Gains From Free Trade in Highly Paid Professional Services," *Center for Economic and Policy Research*, 2003; and "The Run-Up in Home Prices: Is It Real or Is It Another Bubble," *Center for Economic and Policy Research*, 2002. Dean previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, and the OECD's Trade Union Advisory Council. He was the author of the weekly online commentary on economic reporting, the Economic Reporting Review (ERR), from 1996 - 2006.
Joshua B. Gordon is the Policy Director of The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about federal budget issues and their consequences for the future. The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992 by former U.S. Senators Warren Rudman (R-NH), the late Paul Tsongas (D-MA), and former Secretary of Commerce Peter G. Peterson. Mr. Gordon directs The Concord Coalition's research on the federal budget, health care policy and tax policy and is the editor of Concord's blog: *The Tabulation*. He frequently discusses Concord's positions in public speeches and interviews with the media. He also directs Concord's academic outreach and educational activities, including its classroom curriculum and its budget simulations, and was a research advisor for the Sundance Film Festival Documentary I.O.U.S.A. He has been with Concord since 2001. Mr. Gordon has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida and wrote his dissertation on the budget process and the House Appropriations Committee. He also has a Master's degree from the University of Florida and taught classes there on American Politics and on Congress. He received his Bachelor's degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
How does plant downsizing affect the welfare of employees and their children? Is the use of public support programs affected by use among one's peers? These are just two of the questions Mark Votruba, Ph.D. associate professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University tackles in his research in public policy and health economics. Mark's third area of focus is how medical resources are allocated in the U.S. health care system. He's examined the consequences of referring stroke patients to hospitals that treat more stroke patients; potential cost savings of treatments to reduce premature birth; and influences on insurers' willingness to pay for treatments that could reduce long-term medical costs.