In today's USA Today, Fix the Debt co-founders and Simpson-Bowles co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Al Simpson write that each party can't just have its wish list in a debt deal—a solution must be bipartisan. The national debt will threaten our economy, our national security, and our priorities if we don't deal with it.
In February of 2010, when we accepted the job as co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (often referred to as "the Simpson-Bowles commission"), we thought we were taking on this debt challenge for our grandkids. But the more we examined the nation's financial condition, the more we understood how dire the situation was. We weren't taking this assignment on only for the good of our 15 grandkids, it turned out, nor for our seven grown children. We were taking it on for all of us.
That's how critical this issue is. If we can't get members of Congress to put aside their ultra-partisanship and pull together rather than apart, we face the most predictable economic crisis in history. Fortunately for everyone, it is also the most avoidable economic crisis in history.
During our service on the commission, Members of Congress would constantly come up to us and say "save us from ourselves." All of these elected officials in both parties understand what our nation faces. They know what needs to be done, but fear the political consequences if they make the hard votes to reduce spending or increase revenues.
Comprehensive solutions like Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin are difficult because they address both parties' "sacred cows." Americans across the U.S. understand the value of compromise and have been urging their leaders in Congress to come together with a plan.
As we travel the country talking to Americans from across the ideological spectrum, we hear the same thing from nearly all of them: they want real solutions, and they want them now. They are thirsting for the truth and bold leadership from their elected representatives. They understand that the problems are real; the solutions are painful; and there is no easy way out. They know they are going to have to give up something, but they are willing to do it so long as everyone else does. Above all, they just want their leaders to lead.
All of us must put aside our individual wish lists and think about what's really important for the country. If we're unwilling to do that, then future generations are going to be in a world of hurt. But if our leaders can agree on a plan to fix the debt, then the future of this country is bright.
Stand with Simpson and Bowles by signing the Fix the Debt petition to let Congress know we can't put off a bipartisan, comprehensive debt deal any longer.
The full op-ed can be found here.
"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.