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Words from Robert Rubin

ROBERT E. RUBIN: "The United States has tremendous economic strengths but it also faces great challenges: the need to ensure national security; a newly competitive China and India; serious shortcomings in public education, basic research, infrastructure and other requisites for meeting that competition; and much else. An immediate and critical imperative is to redress fiscal imbalances. Most pressing is the 10-year federal deficit, which most independent analysts project at $4.5 trillion to $5 trillion, assuming that the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 are made permanent and that the alternative minimum tax is adjusted to avoid unintended effects on middle-income taxpayers. And while 10-year numbers can be highly unreliable, deficits are as likely to be higher as to be lower. Over the longer term, Social Security has a 75-year estimated deficit of $4 trillion, while the different components of Medicare, including its new prescription drug benefit, represent a fiscal problem of roughly $20 trillion."

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