Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

MY VIEW: Maya MacGuineas

Apr 29, 2011

Today's Washington Post features an op-ed by CRFB president Maya MacGuineas on ways to improve President Obama's debt failsafe proposal. She writes that in order to succeed, debt targets and triggers need to be "well structured and politically realistic" and lays out several suggestions to make the President's failsafe proposal more effective. She states:

"Ideally, we would attach a full budget reform framework, as the Gang of Six (a bipartisan group of senators pushing a comprehensive plan) is working on, to the debt ceiling increase. But time is short; we bump up against the debt ceiling in the coming weeks. Targets and triggers may work as a perfect bridge to the larger plan. However, they will only work if they reflect the political will to make changes, rather than a political punt, and even the best debt fail-safe mechanism needs to include some specific spending cuts upfront to help pave the way. The Gramm-Rudman budget act failed because the targets became too stringent to be realistic; the Medicare solvency trigger failed because there was never really any intent to fix the program. So while the debt fail-safe may be the perfect starting point to help buy some time, only real policy changes will get the job done."

Click here to read the full op-ed.

"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.