Question for Brad DeLong
By Arnold Kling
You objected, reasonably, to my attempt to characterize what you might have said about a hypothetical debt-reduction thesis issued by a Republican. Could you state your position on my substantive point, which I will repeat here:
Relative to current law, I am willing to grant that the legislation will reduce the deficit (assuming no glitches, such as failure to project expenses properly or failure to follow through on promised benefit cuts). It does so by cutting future Medicare benefits by X, and then using a little bit less than X to pay for new subsidies. But in order to actually have a budget that does not collapse by 2030, we have to cut future Medicare benefits by much, much, more than X, and not use the cuts to pay for anything else.
Is that point correct? If so, does the argument that this legislation will reduce the deficit strike you as misleading in any way?