Concord Coalition today released a revised, election 2000 version of a brochure called
“Key Questions Voters Should Ask
Candidates About the Budget, Social Security and Medicare
.” The brochure, now available on-line
, outlines six questions
citizens and members of the media should ask candidates for federal office. It also gives background information to provide
context and help with follow-up questions on these critical issues.
“Political campaigns are the ideal time to
question candidates. Well-informed voters
can use these exchanges to find out where candidates really stand and to let the
candidates know what they think. But many
politicians have a tendency to gloss over tough issues, minimize problems and offer
easy-sounding solutions instead of giving detailed, specific answers. While there is no
single correct answer to any of the questions, these issues need to be debated on the
campaign trail. Concord's key questions provide a framework for ensuring that
candidates address some of the toughest choices they will face about the budget, Social
Security and Medicare if they're elected,” said Executive Director Robert Bixby. The key questions are as follows:
people in Washington are predicting that the government will have budget surpluses “as
far as the eye can see.” Do you believe
it is fiscally responsible to enact new spending initiatives or reduce taxes based on the
assumption that these projected surpluses will actually materialize?
has been a lot of talk about budget surpluses, yet the national debt continues to
increase. Is debt reduction a priority for
you and if so, how would you balance debt reduction against your other priorities?
Security will begin spending more than it collects in taxes by about 2015. After that, Social Security will run growing
annual cash deficits exceeding $1 trillion a year by the time the baby boomers have
retired in the 2030s. How do you propose to
reduce this financial burden on future taxpayers while at the same time protecting the
retirement security of future beneficiaries?
role, if any, do you believe that non-Social Security revenue (i.e., general revenue)
should play in addressing the program's long-term challenges?
people suggest that the current Social Security system could be improved by allowing, or
requiring, workers to save a portion of their payroll contributions in individually-owned
retirement accounts. Do you believe that such
accounts should be part of a comprehensive Social Security reform plan?
is a growing bipartisan consensus that a prescription drug benefit should be added to
Medicare. But Medicare's costs are
already projected to double over the next 10 years, even before most of the huge baby boom
generation qualifies for benefits. If you
agree that a prescription drug benefit should be added to the program, how do you propose
to fund it?
The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan,
grass roots organization dedicated to balanced federal budgets and generationally
responsible fiscal policy. Former U.S.
Senators Warren Rudman (R-N.H.) and Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) serve as Concord's co-chairs and
former Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson serves as president. The organization does not endorse, support or
oppose candidates for public office or political parties.