Regular readers of The Bottom Line are probably familiar with our goal of putting the debt on a downward path as a share of the economy over the long term. Much of the conversation on fiscal policy recently has centered around arguments against "austerity," but smart deficit reduction is different.
Earlier today, Fiscal Commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson released a new comprehensive debt reduction plan with $2.5 trillion of savings, entitled "A Bipartisan Path Forward to Securing America's Future." The plan is intended to show lawmakers a possible way to achieve a compromise that can put debt on a sustainable, downward path. From the report:
Over the last few weeks, we've seen several different budget proposals emerge from the Senate and the House, and President Obama is expected to release his FY 2014 budget next week. But while the budgets released offer some good ideas, none seemed to offer the bipartisan "grand bargain" approach that we often argue for here on The Bottom Line. As it turns out, polling suggests Americans may favor the compromise approach over all others.
Former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors and Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw explains how a sustainable budget would affect debt levels in a piece in Saturday's New York Times.
CRFB board member and former CBO and OMB director Alice Rivlin is somewhat of a legend in the budget world, with a long line of work spanning from being the first director of the Congressional Budget Office to most recently serving as a member of the Fiscal Commission and as co-chair of the Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force. It then comes as no surprise that the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) would present her with its 2013 Robert M. Ball Award for her work on social insurance.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, has released an alternative budget on behalf of House Democrats, "Jobs, Growth, and a Stronger Future." His budget succeeds in putting debt on a slight downward path with $1.8 trillion of savings compared to current law, or $2.3 trillion compared to the CRFB Realistic baseline.
In today's The New York Times, Fix the Debt Steering Committee member Steven Rattner writes on the need for a comprehensive deal to put the debt on a downward path as a share of our economy. According to Rattner, a failure to enact a long-term deficit reduction plan creates unfairness for future generations who must shoulder the burden later on. He calls for action now, not later:
The Atlantic held its 2013 Economy Summit yesterday, featuring more than twenty-four speakers on tax reform, the future of entitlement programs, and the role of debt and deficits in current policymaking. Experts from a wide range of different perspectives discussed how to deal with our debt and boost the economic recovery, arguably the two greatest challenges for policymakers today.