25 Years, 25 Lessons on Fiscal Reform

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The Concord Coalition is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. From the beginning, we have been more than “deficit hawks” with an eye only for balanced budgets. Rather, our focus has always been – and remains – achieving federal budget policies that are sustainable over the long term. We believe that this is an economic imperative and a matter of generational responsibility.

Even in the late 1990s — when the budget was briefly in surplus, and some began to worry about the “problem” of paying off the national debt — we warned against permanent new spending commitments and excessive tax cuts that would make it more difficult to ensure a sustainable fiscal outlook.

Our record in this regard has been vindicated by events. New spending was added and taxes were cut. As a result, mounting pressure on the budget is increasingly evident with each passing year.

We have also insisted from the beginning that solving our structural fiscal imbalance is best undertaken through bipartisan negotiations. Concord’s bipartisan co-chairs and Board of Directors symbolize that commitment.

Throughout our anniversary year, The Concord Coalition will take a look back at fiscal lessons learned over the past 25 years and assess how these lessons relate to the fiscal challenges of the next 25 years.

That process began last week, when we unveiled our first five lessons learned at an event in Washington:

  1. Fiscal policy remains unsustainable

  2. Demographics drive our long-term fiscal challenges

  3. Popular options, like cutting waste, fraud and abuse or growing our way out of debt, are not enough

  4. The independence and credibility of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) are essential

  5. The American people, if presented with credible and understandable information, can make tough fiscal policy trade-offs

Be sure to stay tuned in the coming weeks and months as Concord will regularly publish additional lessons learned and share them on Facebook and Twitter.

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