In an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Campaign to Fix the Debt Co-Chair Ed Rendell called for politicians to rise above partisan politics and choose the "third path" between the fiscal cliff and the mountain of debt from waiving the cliff entirely. He held up fellow Pennsylvania lawmaker Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), who we have written about before, as a positive example.
There is no better example of this than U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah. Congressman Fattah has his own plan to fix the debt - one that would ask all Americans to pay a small "transaction tax" in order to reduce the deficit. But he understands that the national debt is too serious a threat to hold out for his (or anyone's) perfect solution, and this week threw his support behind the bipartisan plan of the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission.
As he wrote to his colleagues, "The Simpson-Bowles proposal is the only solution before Congress that has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress" and "there is no question the nation must begin to make some hard choices now."
The plan requires tough medicine for everyone, but the solution is clear: Democrats must accept changes to make our entitlement programs sustainable and Republicans must accept tax reforms resulting in higher revenue. Both sides are under intense pressure from groups trying to take options off the table. But the simple reality is that fixing the debt will require a bipartisan solution that looks at virtually all areas of the budget.
Rendell says that Simpson-Bowles, while it may not be anyone's ideal plan, represents the kind of principled compromise that needs to happen to fix the debt. He touted the Fix the Debt campaign, which he co-chairs with former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), as operating in the spirit of that kind of compromise, urging citizens to sign its petition. The issue is too important to fall victim to continused partisan bickering.
Meanwhile, in an op-ed in The Hill, Fix the Debt Campaign co-chair Judd Gregg also urges our leaders to agree to a bipartisan plan that can help inject some certainty into the economy. Sen. Gregg states that:
"tell[ing] the elected government that we cannot afford its misfeasance and that if we want to ignite the economy and boost employment, we need to get our federal fiscal house in order. That's done by putting in place specific policies that reduce the debt over the long run and rein in the unaffordable cost of the entitlements — especially in the area of healthcare — that are driving the deficits and unsustainable growth in the size of the government."
Doing so, he believes, would provide much more certainty to businesses and individuals about the direction of fiscal policy and would give them confidence in our political institutions' ability to legislate. That plan would be much more beneficial than going off the cliff or kicking the can down the road as a result of an inability to work together.
As Rendell concludes in his op-ed, "We can't let this country go into another recession, or worse into fiscal crisis, because of rigid partisanship and unwillingness to compromise. That's not the Pennsylvanian way, and it isn't the American way."