In the end, Al and I choose to remain optimistic about the chances for fiscal reform and about the future of this country. The political system doesn’t always move quickly or steadily, but the magnitude of the challenges ahead will require it to act.
Not to decide is to decide. If we in the business community allow members of Congress to think that doing nothing is OK, then that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Our leaders in Washington must work together to reach a bipartisan agreement on our long-term budgets now, not after the election. We remain hopeful that this leadership could soon come from the growing number of members of Congress from both parties who are expressing support for a truly serious deficit reduction plan. Our nation's leaders desperately need to put politics aside, pull together, not pull apart, and make the difficult choices needed to bring these destructive deficits under control.
Erskine Bowles and Sen. Alan Simpson offer their perspective on what lies ahead in the year 2012.
December 1, 2011 marked one year since the release of The Moment of Truth report by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
A year ago today, the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Fiscal Commission) released The Moment of Truth report on how to address our debt crisis. In the report, we concluded that “The problem is real. The solution will be painful. There is no easy way out. Everything must be on the table. And Washington must lead.” We made it clear to leaders in Washington that we cannot afford to delay action on stabilizing the debt and reducing our annual deficits any longer.
We are deeply disappointed that the Congressional Select Committee could not get a simple majority to vote for long term fiscal responsibility and reform that would put our Nation's fiscal house in order. Not to have a plan to solve our long term fiscal problem is wholly irresponsible.
As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (“Super Committee”) deliberates over how to reduce deficits and debt, it is important that they address growing Medicare costs, and that they do so with a special focus on “bending” the health care cost curve.
It was with this principle in mind – that the burden must be spread equally and that Washington must lead by example – that the Bowles-Simpson recommended that federal civil service and military retirement programs be re-evaluated by a federal workforce entitlement task force that would make recommendations for reforms to reduce the costs of those programs to taxpayers.
We need more politicians who understand the calculus that personal priorities and common good coexist. The nation desperately needs broad, bipartisan agreement based on shared sacrifices. And the members of the supercommittee know the policy options and the choices that must be made. Now, it’s a matter of getting the committee’s members to recognize that statesmanship can also be a political win. Some might even call this leadership.