Conventions Shouldn’t Ignore Fiscal Challenges

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The national party conventions always feature lots of expensive promises, generally with little or no attention given to how they would be financed — or even how the federal government might pay for the services and support it has already promised.

So with the first of the two major party conventions underway this week, it would be helpful if responsible elected officials and candidates try to ensure that at least some attention is devoted to a central challenge facing the next president and Congress: Implementing broad fiscal reforms that will put the federal budget on a sustainable course and spare the next generation an unreasonable burden of heavy government debt.

The responsibility starts at the top, with the presumptive presidential nominees.  But as Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby points out, they have yet to truly address the fiscal challenges.

“To hear the candidates tell it,” he wrote in a recent op-ed, “you would think all is well and the only questions are how much we should cut taxes or increase spending.”

Just last week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released 30-year projections that underscore the need for this year’s candidates to provide voters with credible plans for fiscal reform.

CBO warns, for example, that under current law federal debt as a share of GDP would climb from the current 75 percent — already high by historical standards — to 141 percent in 2046, far exceeding the peak of 106 percent shortly after World War II. 

External links:
Bixby Op-Ed on Presidential Candidates and Fiscal Policy (Charlotte Observer)
CBO’s Long-Term Projections Show Need for Candidates to Address Growing Budget Challenges (Concord)
A Fiscal Guide to the 2016 Election (Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget)
Trump’s Agenda on Taxes, Spending and the Wall (The Hill)

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