Fortunately, there are many possible solutions to the enormous fiscal and economic challenges facing the country. But they will require political courage, bipartisan cooperation and the active support of voters around the country.
Because the projected federal deficits are so large, we need to look at far more than the non-defense spending on which Congress has focused so heavily in recent weeks. The president's fiscal commission as well as other bipartisan groups have recommended a much more comprehensive approach. We must restrain military spending, take more effective action to curb runaway health care costs, and close the costly special-interest subsidies that clutter the tax code.
We must also reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid so that they can be sustained and continue to provide essential support for millions of Americans.
Democrats and Republicans must work together on these difficult changes. Otherwise political demagoguery could undermine the reforms. The Senate "Gang of Six" offers the most promising example of such cooperation.
Public engagement is essential as well. Once voters understand the stakes involved – not just for themselves but for future generations -- they become more willing to support the difficult changes that can put the nation on a better course.
Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition
This article originally appeared at http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/debt-debate-president-obama-republicans-solve-national-debt/story?id=13360176