There's a joke in economics about the drunk who loses his keys in the street but only looks for them under the lightposts. When asked why, he says, 'because that's where the light is.' That's the problem with the deficit.
As a former member of President Obama's economic team, I have a soft spot for the fiscal stimulus legislation he signed just a month after his inauguration.
Cold-turkey deficit reduction would cause a significant recession. A recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that going headlong over the cliff would cause our gross domestic product, which has been growing at an annual rate of around 2 percent, to fall at a rate of 2.9 percent in the first half of 2013.