NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT – What's Really on the Mid-Term Ballot

With the mid-term elections over two weeks away, there are really just two issues facing voters.

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SUSIE GHARIB: With the mid-term elections over two weeks away, tonight's commentator believes there are really just two issues facing voters. Here's Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia's graduate school of business and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush.

GLENN HUBBARD, DEAN, COLUMBIA GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: To listen to the tax debate in Washington, the nation is having a tug of war over whose taxes should rise to cover the Federal government's large budget deficits. President Obama argues that raising taxes only on individuals earning over $250,000 per year will return us to fiscal health. That is simply not true, given the large current and future deficits. Many Republicans argue against raising taxes on anyone. But what spending reductions would they recommend to stop the spiraling public debt burden? Memo to Washington: we're actually all in this together. The real questions are how big do we want government to be? And how can we pay for it with the least cost to economic growth and job creation? Keeping the government we now have will require major tax increases on all Americans. The budget holes of 5 percent of GDP in the near term, growing to twice that in the long term, cannot be fixed by raising taxes only on high-income families. Alternatively, we can reduce the growth of entitlement spending, while keeping a strong safety net. So what do we do now? We should extend the current tax code through 2012. Such a move will provide support to the struggling recovery and reduce uncertainty holding back business and household decisions. And the 2012 elections permit the tough conversation about those real questions. We all have a stake in the outcome. I'm Glenn Hubbard.


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