90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Simon Johnson on Debt and Deficit

We’re looking at American debt and deficit and how to really, responsibly, bring it down, with economist Simon Johnson.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds up a copy of his budget plan entitled "The Path to Prosperity," Tuesday, March 20, 2012, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds up a copy of his budget plan entitled "The Path to Prosperity," Tuesday, March 20, 2012, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

In the War of 1812, two hundred years ago this year, the young United States went out into the world without its finances in order – and got its White House burned down.

Flash forward two centuries.  The US debt and deficit are huge.  President Obama is talking up the Buffet rule this week, to get the rich to pitch in more.  Republican Paul Ryan wants to take an axe to the federal budget, and tax rates.

Former chief economist to the IMF Simon Johnson says both fall short.  It is high time for the US to get real, he says.

This hour, On Point:  how to really, responsibly, bring down the US debt.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Simon Johnson, professor of entrepreneurship and economics at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.  Co-author with James Kwak of “White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why it Matters To You.” He blogs at The Baseline Scenario.

 From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today Ever since George Washington became the first president of the United States, politicians, economists, bankers, philosophers and citizens without titles have been arguing about the deficit and the national debt. The issue has been whether the nation should avoid deficit spending, engage in deficit spending and, if engaging, how much national debt is too much.

Economix Blog  There are two competing narratives about the federal government budget in the political mainstream today. The first is that we are, or soon will be, in crisis, because of runaway government spending. To avoid this crisis, we should cut spending by a great deal and as soon as possible.

The Huffington Post I have enormous respect for Simon Johnson. I first recall seeing him one late evening on a Bill Moyers segment in the middle of the financial crisis. I couldn’t quite believe that the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund was complaining about the oligarchs in the financial industry using their control of the U.S. government to bail out their bankrupt banks.

Excerpt: “White House Burning”

[Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.]

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

 
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment