Economists want focus on long-term deficit

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The NABE survey panelists, like the politicians involved in the secretive White House-Senate talks, were themselves divided on whether spending cuts, taxes or stimulus are the best way to address the issue.

A plurality of the 220 panelists queried between July 18 and Aug. 5 said a mix of spending cuts and tax increases is the best solution, while 32 percent called for a focus on spending cuts and 20 percent called for stimulus policies as the solution. 

A 70 majority of those surveyed by the NABE said that current fiscal policy — which has seen taxes rise in January and $80 billion in automatic spending cuts go into effect in March — is either too restrictive or about right and only 21 percent saying there is too much stimulus.

A large majority of the economists want Washington to figure out a path forward. Sixty-eight percent said that uncertainty over fiscal policy is holding the economy back.

A government shutdown looms Oct 1. unless Congress and Obama can agree on a temporary stopgap spending bill. Later in the month, the nation’s debt ceiling will likely need to be raised. On both issues, neither side has yet produced a proposal that can swiftly be enacted.