Two overshadowed vice presidential candidates briefly emerged into the media spotlight on Tuesday night. Their areas of agreement turned out to be more telling than their disagreements.
Moderator Elaine Quijano pushed the vice presidential candidates on why they aren’t doing more to address the national debt. To do so, she cited the “Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget,” saying that “According to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, neither of your economic plans will reduce the growing $19 trillion gross national debt. In fact, your plans would add even more to it. ”
The CFRB may be nonpartisan, but it is hardly nonideological. It has been supported for years by billionaire Pete Peterson, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars pushing alarmism about the U.S. national debt.
Economist Dean Baker notes that interest payments on the debt are actually quite low, and that reducing the debt should not be a high priority. “Currently, that is less than 1.0 percent of GDP. Back in the 1990s, the interest we paid on the debt was more than 3.0 percent of GDP. And, even that level of interest payments did not prevent us from having a very prosperous decade.”