Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Criteria and Recommendations for the Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Criteria and Recommendations for the Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction

By Michael Ettlinger and Michael Linden | September 6, 2011

Download this issue brief (pdf)

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Center for American Progress released “Recommendations for the Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction: The Criteria Any Deficit Plan Must Meet and a Recommendation that Does So,” offering four criteria essential to the committee’s recommendations and a plan to achieve deficit reduction. After zero net job gains in August, as reported by the Labor Department last week, the need for a plan that helps put the country on a better track is paramount.The Special Joint Committee created by the debt deal must create a plan to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction and aid American workers and families who continue to face a stagnant 9.1 percent unemployment rate and an ailing economy.

Today’s Center for American Progress issue brief proposes that the Special Joint Committee focus on meeting the following four criteria in their plan:

  • Achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction but not more than $1.5 trillion in order to avoid the triggered cuts
  • Include significant job creation as part of the total package
  • Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security beneficiaries
  • Avoid dangerous cuts to discretionary spending, both nondefense and defense

The detailed plan articulated in this brief satisfies all of the four crucial conditions listed above, containing $1.5 trillion in net deficit reduction, while continuing the payroll tax cut, extending unemployment benefits, and still leaving room for another $180 billion in job creation measures. Overall, under CAP’s plan, total deficit reduction would amount to $2.5 trillion. In a more reasonable world, there would be room for much more investment in creating jobs, and laying the foundations for future growth, but given the current political and fiscal constraints, the four criteria and subsequent recommendations proposed in this issue brief are those most critical to protecting America’s working families in these negotiations.

The Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction is not going to be able to solve the entire long-term budget problem, nor should it try to achieve this goal at this time. What our country needs right now, and what the committee is tasked with achieving, is substantial, but not enormous, medium-term deficit reduction. Should the committee find itself unable to agree on a plan that meets the four criteria described in this brief, it would be far better to allow the automatic cuts to trigger than to adopt a bad plan that will further weaken the economy and leave Americans more vulnerable.

Read the full column here.

Download this issue brief (pdf)

To listen to today’s press call, click here.

To speak to CAP experts on this issue, please contact Laura Pereyra at 202.203.8689 or [email protected].