Essay: How to Get the Deficit Under $100 Billion

Martin Feldstein, who wrote the Essay that follows, served from September 1982 to July 1984 as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan Administration. One of the leading conservative economists, he nonetheless differed with the White House on several key budget and tax issues, in particular, what he saw as the grave danger posed by large deficits.

There is now widespread agreement in the U.S. that the budget deficit is the most serious problem facing the American economy. This year it will exceed $200 billion, nearly $1,000 for every man, woman and child in the nation. Without tough...

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