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.
The debt ceiling deal President Obama enacted Tuesday cuts deficits and lets the country avert default. But it is getting very muted applause from serious fiscal experts -- the ones who actually understand the federal budget.
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.
President Obama on Wednesday officially threw his weight behind an idea to revamp the way Americans currently pay their individual tax bills, getting rid of popular breaks to lower all income brackets.
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.
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.
The Republicans' midterm surge has given the federal debt-reduction commission -- whose recommendations are due Dec. 1 -- a chance to stand up and be counted. The panel is bipartisan, but as long as Democrats were able to have their way ultimately in both houses of Congress, Republican members had little clout. Now that the balance of power has shifted, the ideas of the panel's deficit hawks, such as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), may get a bit more respect. Co-chairs Erskine Bowles (chief of staff for Bill Clinton) and Alan Simpson (former GOP senator from Wyoming) have offered a proposal, but it's only a draft. We'll know the commission blew its opportunity ...
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.