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The Audacity of Campaign Promises: The Obama Agenda Meets Fiscal Reality.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Noon-1:30 ET
At the Urban Institute
2100 M Street N.W., 5th Floor, Washington, D.C.
Lunch will be provided at 11:45 a.m. The forum begins promptly at noon.

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  • Len Burman, director, Tax Policy Center; senior fellow, Urban Institute
  • Howard Gleckman, editor, TaxVox, the Tax Policy Center’s fiscal policy blog (moderator)
  • Rudolph Penner, senior fellow, Urban Institute; former director, Congressional Budget Office
  • Robert Reischauer, president, Urban Institute; former director, Congressional Budget Office

President-elect Barack Obama made trillions of dollars in campaign promises, from tax cuts for the middle class to health care reform to new spending for education, the environment, and public infrastructure. But the new administration will be coming face to face with a budget deficit that could hit $1 trillion this fiscal year and a national debt that has almost doubled since 2000.

While both campaigns ignored the specter of enormous deficits, can the American public and its leaders afford to be indifferent to the accumulation of debt, especially as the baby boomers start to retire? If action is needed, what should the government be doing, given the economy’s current desperate plight and the possibility of future fiscal catastrophe? How should these circumstances rewrite the new president’s expansive list of promises?

Join us as fiscal experts examine the short- and long-term policy implications of exploding deficits and debt.