Leadership, the Biggest Deficit Right Now

Blog Post
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Former Comptroller General of the United States David Walker and Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby joined the latest Facing the Future to discuss defense spending, fiscal policy as a national security issue and more.

“It’s called leadership, which is the biggest deficit this country has on this issue right now,” said Walker, when speaking about actionable solutions for our nation’s mounting fiscal challenges. 

“The problem is that neither one of the major political parties are focused on this, none of the major media outlets are focused on this,” he added. “In the end, it’s going to take presidential leadership, it’s going to take engaging the public outside of Washington and also engaging in negotiations within the Beltway.” 

“It’s doable, and hopefully we will do it sooner rather than later,” Walker said. And he asks the American public to “focus on principles and values that bring people together and not drive us apart.” 

Walker also spoke on how fiscal policy can impact national security. 

“The greatest threat to the United States is not an external threat, it’s an internal threat,” he said. “And former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen … said our greatest national security threat is our mounting debt.” 

Both he and Bixby agreed that the cost trends within the defense budget are a microcosm of what is happening in the overall federal budget, including health care spending being one of the biggest pressure points. 

Walker identified what he thought the issues were and suggested areas of change, including encouraging leaders to rethink what types of military platforms we need and what type of force structure we need.

Walker spoke holistically on budget trends and a path toward reform. 

“The primary problem is mandatory spending, and mandatory spending is now over 70 percent of the budget and growing much faster than the economy and faster than the rest of the budget,” he said. “Secondly, discretionary spending should not be exempt from review, including the defense department. Thirdly, we’ve got to generate more revenue, and we want pro-growth policies, but most tax cuts don’t stimulate the economy and very few tax cuts pay for themselves.” 

“The bottom line is that we need to get our act together both internationally and domestically if we want our future to be better than our past,” Walker said.

Hear more on Facing the Future. I host the program each week on WKXL, NHTalkRadio.com (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders and elected officials. Past broadcasts are available here. You can subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play Music or with an RSS feed. And follow Facing the Future on Facebook