This was not the first time we discussed the initiative. So, as a reminder of its goals and purpose, Bixby said that the agenda is “the marrying of the concepts of fiscal responsibility and economic growth; too often people think of those things as separate.”
“What we are trying to say is … fiscal responsibility itself is part of an economic growth agenda,” he said. “You can’t just say, ‘well let’s deficit finance our way to economic growth’ because eventually that becomes an unsustainable proposition because the deficits and accumulating debt would actually have a limiting or harmful effect on the economy over the long run.”
Bixby added that policymakers should be looking at ways to grow the economy without abandoning fiscal discipline, ensuring that growth-oriented policies are implemented without relying on the perpetual growth of the nation’s debt.
He also emphasized that any such plan for the future needs to be positive and optimistic, “talking about what we are going to do, rather than what we are going to take away.”
Concord chose five topics to focus on within the fiscally responsible economic growth agenda: health care, Social Security, immigration, workforce investment and federal R&D. “We chose five because we wanted to start out with something that was a bit manageable,” Bixby said. “We thought they represented the most important things about the structural nature of the budget and how these topics contribute to the unsustainability of current law.”
A variety of authors worked on white papers exploring each topic and reform ideas from a nonpartisan perspective, including experts from the Brookings Institution, the American Enterprise Institute, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the American Action Forum, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and the Urban Institute.
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