Earlier this week, I taped an episode of John Stossel's great eponymous show on the Fox Business channel (it airs at 10PM ET on Thursdays; go here for details on the Battle of the Budgets). This week's show takes from another Fox product, American Idol, and features five different think tanks of wildly different perspectives (Demos, the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, Heritage Foundation, The American Enterprise Institute, and the Bipartisan Policy Center) talking about their fixes for the federal bottom line. (The whole show is taking off from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's challenge to those groups; the Center for American Progress declined to appear on Stossel, claiming the show excluded viewpoints such as its own [yeah, weak].) The plans are judged by the studio audience and three judges (a Dem, a centrist, and a libertarian) and by the studio audience. My small role is at the start of the show, where I lay out the depth of the federal budget's persistent deficits, the accumulation of massive debt, and the coming budgetpocalypse when entitlement spending, inflation, and/or interest rates all kick into high gear.
I won't tell you which think tank wins the show's competition (and gets to take home of Stossel's 19 Emmys as the grand prize), but I am happy to tell you that the program was absolutely fascinating and informative. In the best Stossel tradition, the host has a definite libertarian point of view but is also scrupulously honest and fair with his guests of whatever persuasion, all of whom present strong pitches for their ideas. If you care about government spending, watch this show. And be amazed at how interesting and intense the subject really can be.
Earlier this year, Mercatus economist Veronique de Rugy and I offered up a balanced budget plan we call "The 19 Percent Solution," which would balance the budget without raising taxes. Read it here. And watch this video about the plan: