Last December a bipartisan majority of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform surprised skeptics with a comprehensive plan that called for shared sacrifices to reduce projected deficits over the coming decade by $4 trillion.
Unfortunately, elected officials have failed to effectively follow up on the commission’s “Moment of Truth” report – or other sensible recommendations from bipartisan organizations, including a $4 trillion plan developed by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force.
“A year ago the president’s commission showed that thoughtful Democrats and Republicans could reach across party lines to agree on a balanced approach to fiscal sustainability,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. “They put everything on the table and showed what the necessary trade-offs would be in a meaningful solution.”
“Their report,” he added, “presented a tremendous opportunity for the nation, and it is deeply disappointing that the President and the congressional leadership have repeatedly failed to take advantage of it. They need to do better next year. Fortunately the commission's framework will still be there to guide them.”
The commission co-chairs – Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson -- and six other members of the bipartisan panel said in a statement last week that while its plan was not perfect, it “remains the best framework for an overall balanced plan.”
The commission members added: “We strongly support the work of Members of Congress in both parties to develop legislation that would put into effect the policies outlined in The Moment of Truth plan and urge the House and Senate to act on a comprehensive fiscal plan based on the recommendations in our report and other bipartisan deficit reduction proposals.”
The Moment of Truth Project notes that if the fiscal commission’s recommendations had been enacted a year ago, the country now would be enjoyed a broad range of benefits. These would have included being on a path to stabilizing the debt by 2014, avoiding a credit-rating downgrade, and ensuring the long-term health of the economy as well as lasting solvency for Social Security.