During his State of the Union address, President Obama stated that we must “finish the job” on deficit reduction. However, to truly “finish the job” in fact requires much more than what the President is calling for – a trillion dollars more, as detailed in a new report from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
In our view, any serious deficit reduction plan should:
- Stop the debt from growing faster than the economy by making deficit reduction a priority.
- Put the debt on a downward path by reducing the debt by a minimum of $2.4 trillion so that it falls to below 70 percent of GDP by early next decade and continues to decline thereafter.
- Make reforms to federal health and retirement programs to control the costs and preserve the programs.
- Help grow the economy through fundamental tax reform and productive public investments.
- Protect the economic recovery by adopting long-term measures enacted now to boost confidence and certainty but phasing them in gradually to avoid derailing the recovery.
- Preserve the safety net to ensure the most vulnerable will always be protected.
- Be bipartisan to ensure long-term political viability.
The Campaign to Fix the Debt will continue to work with the Administration and Congressional leaders of both parties to get such a plan closer to reality. However, the goal of the plan must be clear: to put the national debt on a sustained, downward path as a share of the economy. To do that, we’ll need a big deal, and one that’s focused on the true drivers of our debt, especially the ever-escalating costs of our entitlement programs.
We are pleased that the President remains committed to deficit reduction and that he acknowledged the need to address our entitlement programs. We at the Campaign to Fix the Debt will work with him, with Congress, with the private sector, and with all Americans to help “finish the job.”