{{show_title_date || "Are Democrats ready to play ball on the budget?, 3/25/13, 12:21 PM ET"}}

Do deficits matter?

Updated

On Monday’s NOW with Alex Wagner, the panel recapped this weekend’s Senate budget “vote-a-rama” and what it may mean for  future fiscal fights facing the country. The U.S. is expected to once again bump up against the debt ceiling this summer.

Bloomberg View’s Josh Barro said Republicans were wrong to equate the country’s debts to those of an average family, arguing they more closely resembled those of a company.

“The government is a lot more like a company than it is a household,” Barro said. “A company has debt as part of its permanent capital structure and it can have that debt forever as long as the debt doesn’t get too large relative to the company.”

Republicans have been attacking Senate Democrats “because their budget doesn’t balance over ten years, but the budget shouldn’t balance over ten years,” he argued.

Former Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Ed Rendell agreed on that one point, but disagreed about the urgent need to tackle long-term deficits in the short term as a means of generating job growth.

“Josh is right. It’s not about balanced budgets, it’s about debt as a percentage of GDP,” he said. “If we let that get to 90-95%, we’re going down the tubes fast.” Where he disagreed with Barro, he said, was that he believed meaningful long-term debt reduction now would spur companies to immediately start hiring.

“I don’t see the ties between those two things,” said managing editor of theGrio.com Joy Reid. “Because the federal government reduces its deficit doesn’t mean Walmart’s going to go out and hire a bunch of new people. They’re not connected.”

“That’s the problem with our side!” Rendell said. “I think we have too many people in our party who are flat out debt deniers.”

Do deficits matter?

Updated