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.
I loved to take on the ideological extremists on both sides when I was in the Senate and took a helluva lot of grief from the special interests passionately defending the sacred cows I dared to brand. But I never lost an election. That is an important lesson that I shared with the committee members. People admire guts and courage. They may fight you. They may vilify you. But they will admire you.
We applaud the Mayor's forward thinking remarks that ask everyone to look for budget cuts and revenues to bring about a bold plan that will get this country out of the recession and back on the path to prosperity. We hope that the Members of the Select Committee and leaders in Congress listen to his advice.
"These next two weeks will tell us a lot about whether Washington is capable of moving our country forward. I’m an optimist – so I’m hopeful that members of the Super Committee will recognize that this moment isn’t about what the party leadership will say or how a party faction will vote or what impact it will have on the next election. It’s about our future. And it’s about having the courage to do right by our children. America’s greatest moments have come when Washington has risen above politics as usual – and worked together to solve the toughest problems. Not as party loyalists – but as loyal Americans."
In an era of high political tension, the letter made public by one hundred members of the House is a courageous display of bipartisanship that represents, we hope, a turning point in the debate over how best to deal with the nation's fiscal challenges. For too long, budget issues have divided the parties, not unified them. This letter shows there is a strong bipartisan core of rank-and-file members in the House ready to deal robustly with our budget problems, and deal with them now.
We believe that there is a real chance this super committee will put politics aside and pull together not pull apart. If you do, we’re confident the future of this country will be very bright and we can withstand any blow that comes our way. And if we don't, we think America could become a second rate power in our lifetime, and the opportunities our children will have will for the first time in American history, be less than those experienced by their parents. The national interest, not special interests, must prevail.
We've spent a quarter-century undoing the smart, simple tax reforms of 1986.
Here's to hoping Washington can act like its old self before it's too late.
The Super Committee already has its work cut out for it in its quest to recommend $1.2 -- $1.5 trillion in savings. Fortunately, Go Big can boost their chances of success while also setting the country on a path to a sustainable fiscal future.