Fix the Debt in the News
In The Wall Street Journal yesterday, economics editor David Wessel wrote about the Fix the Debt campaign's effort to shape the deficit debate in Washington. With the debt ceiling fight that led to the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt still fresh in the mind and the fiscal cliff approaching, people across the country are looking for lawmakers to come to an agreement rather than continue engaging in brinksmanship. The sense of urgency regarding the cliff has led to a huge push to get things done, and the Campaign has been working to channel that energy. As CRFB president Maya MacGuineas describes, "No outside effort is going to be big enough to make this happen on its own, but the momentum this campaign will provide will improve the chances for success tremendously."
Wessel also talks about the urgency of business leaders and former lawmakers to get a debt deal done. The article features statements from people like Arne Sorenson of Marriott, Douglas Oberhelman of Caterpillar, and former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA). Business executives are worried about the economic effects of the cliff, and the uncertainty associated with all the temporary provisions in the budget makes it difficult for them to know what policies will be in place in the future. An ideal deficit reduction plan would address the cliff and the temporary provisions in a fiscally responsible manner that puts debt on a sustainable path over the medium and long term.
One person pushing for this plan is UPS chairman and CEO Scott Davis, who spoke to business leaders in Washington state yesterday. On the fiscal cliff he said:
With this madness becoming a real risk, executives at companies in every industry are understandably scaling back. More than 40% of companies surveyed by Morgan Stanley this summer cited the fiscal cliff as a major reason for spending restraint.
When companies don't spend and hire, the business engine driving our country sputters along. And the economy stagnates. And 23 million people can't find work. That is unacceptable, and frankly, inexcusable, in my view. Would you run your business this way?
He then mentioned the Fix the Debt Campaign as the group pushing for a solution. His solution, or at least the starting point for a bipartisan solution, is Simpson-Bowles:
The Simpson Bowles Commission showed us the way with a plan it proposed in 2010. They brightly lit the path forward. Was it a perfect solution? No. But it was a terrific starting point. They proposed lower tax rates, eliminating deductions, and common sense entitlement reform. And they proposed something that has become almost toxic in DC-compromise.