Today over 160 economists and thought leaders signed a letter coordinated by Fix the Debt to President Obama and congressional leaders calling on them to agree on a comprehensive approach that addresses the needs of the economy while also tackling the long-term debt.
- Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chair
- Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve Chair
- Christina Romer, former White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair
- Glenn Hubbard, former White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair
- Martin Baily, former White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair
- Greg Mankiw, former White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair
- Paul O’Neill, former Treasury Secretary
- James A. Baker III, former Treasury Secretary
- George Schultz, former Treasury Secretary
- Alice Rivlin, former Office of Management and Budget Office Director
- Mark Zandi, Chief Economist, Moody’s Analytics
The full text of the letter:
Dear President Obama, Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Reid, Democratic Leader Pelosi, and Republican Leader McConnell:
We are writing to urge you to continue the work of addressing our nation's economic challenges and our mounting debt burden.
Promoting an economic expansion that accelerates job creation, while at the same time addressing the long-term debt challenge, will require that we change our current approach to fiscal issues.
Rather than indiscriminate cuts to just one part of the budget, we need a smart and gradual debt reduction plan that will promote long-term growth and stability. By enacting a comprehensive plan now that reforms the tax code and addresses the largest drivers of our fiscal problems over the long term, policymakers could avoid the negative effects of abrupt cuts, sustain key investments in productive public programs, and simultaneously set a more sustainable trajectory for the nation’s debt—creating a virtuous cycle of growth and budgetary responsibility.
While the recent Budget Control Act and American Tax Relief Act represent progress, we believe there is a need for substantial further deficit reduction if the country is to remain economically strong. This is especially true over the long-run, where rising health care costs and changing demographics threaten to drive our national debt to unprecedented levels.
We encourage you, our nation’s leaders, to identify a combination of spending reductions and tax and entitlement reforms sufficient to put the national debt on a downward path relative to the size of our economy. With a well-designed deficit reduction package, we can reassure markets and employers, grow our middle class, and restore faith in our political system.
On the other hand, failing to act could very well jeopardize our economic prosperity and the future of key programs on which millions of Americans rely—both today and for generations to come.
While we may find differences of opinion about the specific policies that should be included in any plan, we all agree on the need for significant additional progress on this front.
Policymakers should enact a plan as soon as possible to improve our fiscal trajectory, grow the economy and put the debt on a more sustainable path.
The letter comes as increased momentum appears towards reaching a comprehensive debt agreement.