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In just a few short years, federal budget deficits and the national debt rose from obscurity to become America's newest obsession. Unfortunately, while interest in the issue has grown, rigid ideology and an increasingly vitriolic and entrenched public dialogue have crowded out thoughtful discourse, preventing even basic educationon budgets, the deficit, and the role of government. Fiscal Therapyis an antidote to the demagoguery and half-truths. It explains thescope and nature of the deficit problem facing the United States and offers sensible,balanced, workable solutions in clear language, drawing on national history, theexperiences of other countries, and economic analysis. According to William G. Gale,senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and codirector of the Urban-Brookings TaxPolicy Center, what is at stake in solving the deficit problem is the social contractthat governs how Americans interact with their government. Restructuring government and balancing the long-term budget are monumentaltasks. While Americans need not and should not abandon their fundamental values,the required actions will be profound. No country makes such changes easily orquickly, but failure to act will ultimately guarantee long-term economic ruin. Gale proposes a set of policies to restore fiscal balance through shared sacrifice. Hisproposal would restructure taxes and spending programs, cut overall governmentoutlays, raise revenues, and put the economy and the budget on sound footing. Contents1. Introduction 2. How We Got Here 3. Where We're Heading 4. Why the Deficit Is a Problem? 5. Fixing the Problem