Poverty, Opportunity, and the Deficit: Notes for the President's Commission

With concern about rising deficits and debt taking center stage in Washington right now, President Obama formed the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to make recommendations on how to ensure a sound fiscal future for our country. As the Commission deliberated, Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity believed their efforts to rein in deficits and manage the budget should include a focus on the potential impact on low-income people.


To make sure this critical issue was central to the debate, Spotlight presented a range of views from policymakers, economists and policy experts during the fall of 2010 on how the Commission's recommendations will--or should--affect low-income individuals.


Monday, September 20: Douglas Holtz-Eakin, American Action Forum, “Poverty, Opportunity, and the Deficit”

Monday, September 27: Maya MacGuineas and Jason Peuquet, New America Foundation, “Fiscal Reform and Poverty Reduction Are Mutually Reinforcing”

Monday, October 4: Representative Jim McGovern, “Don’t Increase Hunger to Balance Budgets: How We Can Feed the Hungry and Help Our Economy”

Tuesday, October 12: Stuart Butler, Heritage Foundation, “Poverty, Opportunity, and the Deficit”

Monday, October 18: Isabel Sawhill, Brookings Institution, Why Deficit Reduction Is Necessary and Need Not Hurt the Poor”

Wednesday, October 20: Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women's Policy Research, The Conventional Wisdom is Wrong: We Can Afford Entitlements

Monday, October 25: Bill Frenzel, Brookings Institution, “What Happens to the Poor If the U.S. Reduces Its Debt Ratio and Its Deficits”

Monday, November 1: Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson, Social Security Works, “Protect and Defend Social Security, Even While Reducing the Deficit”

Wednesday, November 3: Rebecca Dixon, National Employment Law Project, “No Time to Weaken Social Security”

Monday, November 8: David John, Heritage Foundation, “The Automatic IRA Helps Build Assets and Retirement Security”

Wednesday, November 10: Rebecca Thiess and Andrew Fieldhouse, Economic Policy Institute, “Balance the Budget, But Not on the Backs of the Poor”

Monday, November 15: Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution, “Means-Tested Programs Should Bear Part of the Deficit Burden”

Monday, November 29: Harry Holzer, Georgetown Public Policy Institute, “Fighting Poverty and Unemployment in an Era of High Debt”


We hope that the views, insight, and proposals in this series provide a useful guide to thinking about how the important topic of deficit reduction impacts America’s poor.

For more information about the debate on the deficit, check out Spotlight's Deficit Resources Page.