WASHINGTON -- Today, The Concord Coalition issued its preview of the President's budget: “The Seven Signs of Fiscal Sense: What to Look for in the President's Fiscal Year 2007 Budget.” The issue brief closely examines both the rhetoric and reality of the President's stated fiscal policies, and helps observers carefully scrutinize the outlook for our nation's fiscal health.
“The budget submitted this year is significant on three levels,” stated Robert L. Bixby, Executive Director of The Concord Coalition. “This is the first budget in which the full impact of the retirement of the Baby Boom generation will materialize. In 2008, the leading edge of 70 million Baby Boomers will be eligible for Social Security, and in 2011, Medicare. Second, it is the first budget to show the cost of extending the 2001 tax cuts permanently. Finally, it is an election year--not exactly the best atmosphere for proposing hard choices. These factors make it all the more important to scrutinize the budget for fiscal sense.”
The report cautions observers against complacency about our fiscal condition.
“Statements about ‘cutting the deficit in half' and ‘record levels of revenues' may sound impressive, but in reality are much less of an accomplishment than they appear on the surface,” said Bixby.
The report also issues warnings about unrealistic assumptions, deficit-increasing initiatives that are not offset, fiscal pressures beyond the budget window, and watered-down or unbalanced budget enforcement proposals.
Specifically, Concord suggests the following questions be asked about the President's budget:
Does the President's budget plan achieve actual deficit reduction?
Does the President's budget plan build on realistic assumptions?
Does the President's budget plan contain offsets for new initiatives?
Does the President's budget plan achieve a path of sustainable deficit reduction beyond the forecast year window?
Does the President's budget plan share the burden of deficit reduction across generations and income levels?
Does the President's budget plan establish credible enforcement mechanisms?
Is the President's budget plan politically viable over the long-term?
The Concord Coalition's “The Seven Signs of Fiscal Sense: What to Look for in the President's Fiscal Year 2007 Budget,” can be found at www.concordcoalition.org.
The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to balanced federal budgets and generationally responsible fiscal policy. Concord's co-chairs are former Senators Warren B. Rudman (R-NH) and Bob Kerrey (D-NE). Former Commerce Secretary Peter G. Peterson serves as President of The Concord Coalition.