June 23, 2017

Wise Men (Part Two): Erskine Bowles and Sam Nunn Discuss the Dangers of the Growing National Deficit

October 8, 2012


Former U.S. Sen. Nunn (D-Georgia) currently co-chairs the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about the causes and consequences of federal budget deficits, the long-term challenges facing America’s unsustainable entitlement programs, and how to build a sound foundation for economic growth. . . . 

If the nation doesn’t start addressing these issues, Nunn said we will be on a “suicide mission.”

“I think we have pushed as close to the edge as we dare go,” he said, adding that political leaders “are more afraid of the political repercussions” rather than doing what’s best for the country.

“When you’re in a hole, the first rule is to quit digging,” Nunn said. “They’ve continued dancing around Simpson-Bowles. They are not yet ready to lead the country in an honest way.” . . . 

Nunn said he is intrigued by an idea put forth by economist Marty Feldstein where one would cap home mortgage deductions or charitable donations to a certain percentage of someone’s taxable income — say 5 percent. That would permit taxpayers to continue getting some deduction for owning their homes or for charitable giving.

“I think that’s brilliant,” Nunn said. “We are not going to get out of this if every sacred cow remains sacred.”