Deficits aren't the biggest problem facing America today. But they are a problem. And it would be nice--and good, and appropriate, and proper--to have a budget in surplus. It is very heartening that Ben Bernanke is taking the grown-up point of view:
WSJ.com - Bernanke Wants Lower Deficits, Doesn't Rule Out Tax Increases: By GREG IP March 15, 2006; Page A2: WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress he was "quite concerned" about federal budget deficits and urged lawmakers to act soon to bring them down.... Mr. Bernanke is taking on predecessor Alan Greenspan's role as a leading nag on fiscal matters. Although the new Fed chief declined to endorse any particular way to reduce the deficit, he did suggest that Congress can't ignore the tax side of the budget. "Over time either taxes will have to be raised or the spending increases embedded in current laws will need to be scaled back, or some combination of the two," he wrote.
Mr. Greenspan regularly said he preferred that the deficit be reduced through spending rather than tax increases. Mr. Bernanke expressed the same view when he was chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. But in his latest remarks, he reiterated that the way the deficit is reduced represents "political judgments," on which he prefers not to comment.