The debt debate has become one of those ear-numbing topics of conversation where you can’t tell anymore what’s worth listening to. There have been so many proposed plans and cuts that at this point, it’s impossible for one person to hold all the information in their head.
So, obviously, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s at stake. And it’s even harder to think about long-term losses, as opposed to immediate cuts. We know (and aren’t happy about) social security being on the chopping block. But we do know that for certain. What about the unknowns?
Time Magazine has an article that will really make you think about the foggier, less concrete numbers: what the future might hold if a lot of the already-discussed cuts go into effect. Read this analysis of theirs:
Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, ran the numbers on what a deal that either cuts spending or raises taxes in order to reduce the deficit by $2 trillion would mean to the economy. Elmendorf estimates that the deal would likely slow the economy by as much as 0.6% in each of the next three years. Again, there is no science for translating GDP growth into jobs. But 0.1% of GDP growth usually means the economy will add about 5,000 jobs, and vice versa. So that means a debt-ceiling deal of the size Elmendorf is talking about could cost the economy as much as over a million jobs during the next three years.
It’s scary stuff. And when the nitty gritty is what’s in the public eye, these bigger picture ideas get lost. But Americans who can’t find a job won’t ignore outlooks like this, because in the end lack of good jobs is the biggest problem we face. That’s not going away, especially not if we get a bad debt deal.