The Deficit Challenge
As the GOP primary season moves along to New Hampshire, we continue to look for signs that the candidates are at least as concerned with the country’s fiscal fiasco as voters are. The budget deficit was high on the list of concerns of Iowa caucus goers, according to exit polling, with slightly more than a third of people polled saying it was the most important issue for them.
The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction included a detailed legislative proposal intended to enforce a declining path for the federal debt, beginning in 2013. This “debt trigger” mechanism is similar to a proposal that the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform has developed over the last two years.
In an op-ed today in the Washington Post, CRFB board members Erskine Bowles and Senator Alan Simpson argue that the Gang of Six -- despite hitting a few speed bumps -- are not only still relevant, but "it offers the last, best hope for a comprehensive bipartisan deficit reduction agreement in this Congress," as policymakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized.
The Heritage Foundation recently came out with a detailed paper with over $300 billion in spending cuts that can be put in place in FY 2012.
Yesterday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) launched a new project - YouCut. YouCut allows people to vote online or from their cell phones on spending cuts, from a list of several options -- to be updated weekly, that they would like to see the House act on. House Republicans will then offer an up-or-down vote on the winning spending cut from the previous week.
Admiral Roughead (Navy), General Conway, (Marine Corps) and Admiral Allen (Coast Guard) all took the spending challenge today, arguing that retired military officers and their families should have to pay more for their health care. According to CongressDaily:
The Center for American Progress recently discussed what it would take to meet the President's fiscal goal of a primary balance in 2015, or finding about $250 billion in savings. After illustrating what it would look like to meet this goal completely through either spending cuts or tax increases, CAP argues that we will ultimately need a mix of both spending cuts and tax increases if we are to avoid large, painful cuts or economically harmful tax changes. CRFB certainly agrees.
Last week, the President said “my first priority is to figure out how can we reduce wasteful spending so that, you know, we have a baseline of the core services that we need and the government should provide, and then we decide how do we pay for that. As opposed to figuring out how much money can we raise and then not have to make some tough choices on the spending side.”