“In your first budget proposal in January 2017, what will you do to begin to address our national debt and deficit?” This is the question a national effort called “Fix the Debt” has challenged us to ask out candidates for President. Unfortunately, I have rarely heard it posed and never has it been adequately answered.
A few Republicans have plans to address Social Security and health care spending, but they also propose huge tax cuts that exceed their specific spending cuts and would worsen the fiscal situation. Some Democrats have proposals to pay for their large expansions of federal programs, but have not put forward plans to address the debt. It’s not enough to pay for new spending commitments when the accumulating debt is already unsustainable.
I am sorry that President Obama did not get behind the Bolles-Simpson debt and deficit reduction proposals and push hard to get them passed early in his first term. There would have been pain all around, but at least steps could have been taken to save our children and grandchildren from having to pay off the debt we have created!
Now, we have another chance. Whether Republican or Democrat, we must press our potential leaders to articulate just how they would raise taxes on the wealthiest among us AND make reasonable cuts in spending that do not hurt the poorest of the poor. There are ways to do this. It just takes the political will to do it.
It’s up to us to make sure that happens!