The Budget Agreement Is an Imperfect but Good First Step

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Budgets are about choices. The budget agreement announced by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) makes plenty of choices—many of them good, others less so—but the sum total of their choices results in a package that moves the country in a positive direction. The Murray-Ryan deal would, for the time being, put the seemingly constant fiscal crises to rest and roll back some of the damaging austerity spending cuts that have been undermining the economic recovery.

Of course the deal could have made better choices. Conservatives’ refusal to consider any measures that could be considered tax increases took many good policy options off the table, such as closing loopholes exploited by Wall Street and big corporations. The Murray-Ryan deal does include some new revenue from other sources, such as user fees, but these fee increases require more sacrifice from the middle class than would have been necessary if conservatives had been willing to consider closing tax loopholes instead.

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