CAP expert Harry Stein testified before the House Budget Committee at a hearing titled “Congressional Budgeting: The Need for Fiscal Goals.”
Thank you Chairman Price, Ranking Member Van Hollen, and members of the committee for inviting me to testify on the subject of fiscal goals. Before joining the Center for American Progress, I worked on budget, tax, and national security policy here on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to Senator Herb Kohl, and it is an honor and a privilege to contribute to this committee’s efforts to identify and achieve better goals for fiscal policy.
Fiscal policy exists within the context of economic policy, and fiscal goals should help the United States achieve national goals. Fiscal policy is where lawmakers make choices about how the government will collect and deploy resources. This means deciding which national goals the federal government will prioritize, such as job creation, retirement security, national defense, or public health.
Responsible fiscal goals should set a course to achieve the national goals that lawmakers have chosen to prioritize, and ensure that resources are available to deliver on those promises. Fiscal goals should be determined based on economic conditions, with flexibility for policymakers to respond decisively to new developments. Fiscal policy should help smooth the ups and downs of the business cycle to help American families deal with economic shocks.This article was originally published in House Budget Committee.