The 12 members of Congress on the deficit reduction committee have my deepest admiration and respect. They face probably the greatest challenge they've ever faced or ever will, at least in political life!
The congressional debt committee, three weeks from its deadline and reportedly deadlocked, got a polite earful on Tuesday from four of the most passionate proponents of a big, balanced and bipartisan deficit-reduction plan.
The mountain roared and gave birth to a mouse. Even after taking the country to the brink of economic disaster, our leaders in Washington still could not forge a broad, bipartisan consensus on a plan to stabilize the debt. As I predicted here last week, Congress found a way to muddle through the current debt limit crisis by promising to deal with the debt later.
Our nation faces the most predictable economic crisis in its history. Spending is rising rapidly, and revenues are failing to keep pace. As a result, the federal government is forced to borrow huge sums each year to make up the difference. If not addressed, burgeoning deficits will eventually lead to a fiscal crisis, at which point the world's financial markets will force decisions upon us.
As lawmakers and the White House squabbled over the 2011 budget, dozens of prominent economists, former government officials and business leaders pressed them on Thursday to get serious about forging a long-term fix for the country's unsustainable debt.
As lawmakers continued to butt heads over how much spending should be cut over the next seven months, a few senators on Tuesday were trying to keep the focus where they think it belongs -- the next several decades.
The deficit reduction plan that President Obama's bipartisan commission will vote on tomorrow is drawing sharp fire from ideological groups on both the left and the right. To bring federal spending in line with revenues, the proposal released by co-chairmen Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles inflames liberals by slashing spending on social programs and conservatives by raising taxes.
As topics go, reducing the national debt, revamping the tax system, and reforming entitlements are awfully dry. So how contentious, emotional and divisive would you expect a national discussion of these items to be?
Twenty years ago last month, a new breed of Republicans was asserting itself in Congress. President George H.W. Bush thought he had bipartisan support for a budget deal to tackle the deficit through steep spending cuts and some tax increases.
This week, co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson issued their joint proposal for consideration by the full National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Their joint proposal represents a commendable, comprehensive, aggressive and good faith effort to address our nation's structural deficit. It recognizes the need for economic recovery now while addressing the structural deficits that represent the real threat to our collective future.
How to get the federal budget back on the right track? Here are just two ideas from the co-chair of the president's bipartisan debt commission: Rein in tax breaks. Set hard caps on federal revenue and spending.