While letting all $3.9 trillion in the Bush tax cuts expire and implementing mindless across-the-board cuts is surely not the smart way to solve our long-term fiscal problems, that threat should be enough to force across the finish line a grand bargain similar to the one our commission proposed.
In addition to an improving economy, he points out that “the terms of the fiscal debate have fundamentally changed in ways that make lasting progress on the debt far more likely.”
He concludes on a hopeful note, encouraging leaders to reach a bipartisan solution that targets both spending and revenues:
Before the year is out, leaders in both parties must reach a principled compromise that stabilizes our debt and puts it on a downward path relative to the economy. This agreement must significantly restrain long-term spending such that the rate of growth in health-care spending is reduced to no more than the rate of growth of GDP plus 1%, and Social Security is made sustainably solvent. This agreement must also overhaul the tax code in a progressive manner to reduce the deficit and improve the nation’s economic growth and global competitiveness.
Click here to read the entire op-ed. It was published on the Wall Street Journal on March 29, 2012.
Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson created the Moment of Truth Project to educate policymakers and the public on the work of the President’s Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.