Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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October 6, 2012

‘Budget wonk’ will be analyzing debate closely

DANVILLE — Maya MacGuineas is “a diehard political independent” and has been called an “anti-deficit warrior” by the Wall Street Journal.

She’s planning to pay close attention to Thursday night’s vice presidential debate between Republican Paul Ryan and Democratic incumbent Joe Biden from the campus of Centre College in little Danville.

 “I’ll watch it, and I’ll tape it, and then I’ll watch it again,” she said.

The self-proclaimed “budget wonk” is a regular on national news programs and often testifies before Congress on budget matters. She’s worked on Wall Street and for the Brookings Institute and her dad criticizes every speech she makes calling for changes to Social Security.

She’s got news for those on the left and on the right.

The country faces a dangerous fiscal cliff after the election and, regardless of who wins, the problem is the same: the need to cut $4 trillion from the national debt and the only way to do it is to look at every part of the budget and use every means available.

“It’s implausible you could do this all through spending cuts or all through revenue increases, and it’s clearly impossible unless you do it in a way that’s bi-partisan,” MacGuineas said during a phone interview with CNHI on Friday.

MacGuineas is president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Director of the Fiscal Policy Program at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan think tank. Her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Financial Times. She has worked with members of Congress as groups such as the Gang of Six and others have tried, so far without success, to build a coalition of compromise to deal with the national debt.

She hosts weekly dinners for members of Congress who get together outside the media glare and the partisan heat on the hill for serious discussions on the budget and health care.

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Mike James / The Independent Allison Aldrich demonstrates her boomilever, a nine-gram device that can bear a 30-pound load.

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