CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research
Deficits and Spending

The organization AmericaSpeaks in June hosted 19 simultaneous meetings in cities across the country asking people to come up with proposals for dealing with the country's projected long-term budget deficits.

CEPR's analyses of the discussion materials for the meetings show that they were aimed at persuading participants to opt for big cuts to Social Security and Medicare:

* AmericaSpeaks' Misguided Federal Budget 101
* AmericaSpeaks: What Is Not on the Program

America Speaks Back: The Effort to Gut Social Security and Medicare Takes a Hit
But it seems that events didn't quite go as planned. The participants rose up in revolt. They demanded the option to vote on a single-payer type health care system and also voted overwhelmingly for defense cuts and progressive tax options.

The CEPR Deficit Calculator
This interactive calculator allows users to pick various items, including many of the progressive options not offered at the AmericaSpeaks meetings, and see how they'll shrink (or grow) the national debt in 2020.

America Speaks Without Knowing
A CEPR poll conducted after the 6.5-hour discussion found that while participants were well-informed on the problem of health care, they didn't fare so well on topics such as Social Security or the budget deficit.

AmericaSpeaks' town meetings' were largely funded by the billionaire Pete Peterson, who also supported the film IOUSA:

* IOUSA Not OK: An Analysis of the Deficit Disaster Story in the Film IOUSA The movie IOUSA portrays a picture of the United States as a country hopelessly addicted to debt, which is one-sided and misleading. This analysis features a minute-by-minute viewer's guide of inaccurate or misleading statements in the film.

* IOUSA Budget Deficit Calculator The film IOUSA fails to explain that deficits are driven almost entirely by projections of exploding private sector health care costs. This interactive calculator allows users to see what the U.S. budget deficit would be if the U.S. had the same per person health care costs as various other countries.

* Discussion of the Film: A video of Dean Baker's discussion with Diane Rogers, Chief Economist of the Concord Coalition, after a screening at Bus Boys & Poets in D.C. on November 23, 2008.


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