During the second broadcast of “Facing the Future” budget experts expressed concern over the nation’s path after recent deficit-financed tax and spending legislation, and they saw a lack of fiscal discipline in the president’s Fiscal 2019 budget proposal.
As the program host, I had the opportunity to interview Committee for Economic Development Senior Vice President Joe Minarik, Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Vice President Bill Hoagland and Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby.
The president’s budget proposal calls for a major infrastructure investment by the federal government, but Minarik said now is not a good time for the government to be increasing spending on any front unless there is a plan to pay for it.
“There is no way that we should be undertaking that kind of a program without, at the same time, taking the steps that are necessary to put our overall fiscal house in order,” he said.
Minarik added: “If you are going to get consensus in Congress, you are going to need to have a program where everyone is perceived to be carrying their weight, everyone is putting in a fair share of the effort in reducing the deficit.”
“We are going to need some very serious leadership,” he said.
But Hoagland fears that no elected leaders are currently willing to work together and get the national debt back to a more manageable level.
“There’s no desire or political reward for people to address the issue, especially when the president of the United States is unwilling to step up and make it an issue,” Hoagland said.
“We did have a ‘coming together’ on the last budget deal,” he said, “but it was a coming together to add to the deficit.”
Bixby said if he were in a room with elected officials from both parties, he would say, “Stop it; Turn things around!”
“I think things are going in exactly the opposite direction of where they need to be,” Bixby said. “I don’t think there’s any running away from this.”
“Facing the Future” airs on WKXL Concord News Radio (N.H.) and via podcast. As The Concord Coalition’s New England regional director, I am the regular host for the weekly broadcasts. Join us as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office.