Currently the federal government is spending 25% of GDP. Mitt Romney pledges to cut this to 20% (close to the average over the last 30 years) whereas his opponent has yet to pick a numerical target. Summers thinks the "uncontrollables" will get federal spending up to 31% of GDP.
WP columnist Robert Samuelson faults Summers for being silent concerning what should be done in the future:
What should the nation do? Summers punts. Here’s his column’s last sentence: “How government can best prepare for the pressures that loom, and how greater revenue can be mobilized without damaging the economy, are the great economic questions for the next generation.”
Wrong. They are questions for this generation. They loom now; the longer we ignore them — as we have for decades — the harder the choices.