Former Comptroller General and CRFB Board Member David Walker writes in Public Finance International that the struggles in Detroit are a symbol of fiscal irresponsibility in other areas of government. Particularly with the federal government, lawmakers have put the country on a dangerous fiscal path over the last decade that cannot be sustained without negative consequences. Walker writes:
It's the first week of fall, and that means the end of the fiscal year is drawing to a close. Unfortunately, we still do not have a bill funding the government for FY 2014 or even a path forward laid out at this point. In today's Washington Times, Former U.S. Comptroller General and CRFB board member David Walker lays out what he expects for the government funding negotiations.
Many are pessimistic about whether Congress will be able to meaningfully address our countries debt challenges this fall, especially with the possiblity of a government shutdown looming in a few short days, and a need to raise the debt ceiling shortly thereafter.
We are now another week closer to a possible government showdown, and still no viable solution has emerged. But while a deal may have not come together yet, Fiscal Commission co-chairs and CRFB board members Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson still see an opening for a comprehensive budget deal.
Congress returned to Washington today and lawmakers will find their to-do list packed. But in today's The Hill, former Governor and Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), co-chair of the Fix the Debt Campaign, writes that only one domestic issue must be resolved by the end of this month: the budget and the debt.
As Congress returns to Washington today, the clock is ticking to September 30, the end of the government's fiscal year and the date after which the government will shut down unless a funding measure is passed for FY 2014. Only 9 legislative days remain before the end of the month.
It's the dog days of August and with Congress in recess, we can do nothing but wait to resolve some of the upcoming fiscal challenges that lie ahead. We have made some progress, particularly in beginning to seriously discuss tax reform, but overall, there is a still a tremendous amount of work that remains to be done in the fall.
As the Senate Finance Committee looks to take up tax reform, one of the higher ranking members on the Committee who will likely shape the process is Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who has already authored a bipartisan tax reform plan with Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN). In today's Oregonian, Wyden's predecessor, former Senator and CRFB boardmember Bob Packwood (R-OR) expains the need for a rewrite of our nation's complicated and ineffective tax code.
In the midst of our slow economic recovery, both the public and our Congressional leaders alike can too easily narrow their field of vision to solely short-term concerns, like our 7.6 percent unemployment rate and modest economic growth, or focus solely on long-term problems like our debt path. Some fear that Congress will ultimately end up choosing one or the other, improving today's economy or our long-term prospects.