Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, proposed a new fiscal framework Tuesday that would put the nation’s finances on a sound and responsible path.
“It is time to replace crisis-management budgeting with a strategic framework that deals with the real problems facing the budget and the economy,” said Concord Coalition Co-Chair Sam Nunn. He said the recommendations from Bowles and Simpson were “right on target” and “should be put to use immediately as a guide to this year's budget process.”
Bowles and Simpson said their framework was not meant as a revision of their commission’s 2010 plan but “builds upon where elected leaders were in their negotiations last year.” The framework calls for an additional $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years as well as long-term reforms to entitlement programs and health care.
A key feature of the framework is that it requires broad sacrifice. It does not attempt to rely on either spending cuts or tax increases alone to reduce deficits. It puts all parts of the budget in play and does not pretend that popular programs can be exempted from scrutiny or that no new revenues are needed.
“This is a credible, responsible and comprehensive framework for addressing the nation’s growing debt burden, which will reach unsustainable levels if no action is taken,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “It cuts through partisan rhetoric and confronts the hard trade-offs that must be made between spending, taxes and debt. For those who are afraid to ‘go first,’ it offers a way forward.”