WASHINGTON -- In a full-page advertisement in this Sunday's New York Times (October 7, 2001), leaders of The Concord Coalition have signed an open letter to the President and the Congress of the United States, urging “a time for thoughtful action” as they consider plans to address the business and economic impact of the events of September 11th.
The advertisement is signed by The Concord Coalition's Co-Chairs, Warren B. Rudman and Sam Nunn, Concord's President, Peter G. Peterson, and Concord Coalition Board Members Robert E. Rubin, J. Robert Kerrey, and Paul A. Volcker. The full text of the advertisement (http://concordcoalition.org/fedbudget/old-doc/011007nytad.htm) is available under “What's New” on The Concord Coalition's website (http://www.concordcoalition.org).
Excerpts from the advertisement:
“The events of September 11th shocked the conscience of the civilized world.
Our nation's security has naturally and rightly taken the highest priority: nothing is more important than the work of the President and Congress to reduce the uncertainty about our citizens' safety and to deal effectively with terrorism.
But the U.S. Government is also taking important steps to address the business and economic impact of the terrorists attack...
In that regard, we call on President Bush and Congress to choose measures, whether tax cuts or expenditures, which:
1. Have real effect in the very near future. 2. Do not involve meaningful costs in later years. 3. Have the greatest stimulus, and where possible, the biggest impact on future productivity, for the amount of money being spent.
In particular, let's reject measures that would further compromise the budget position down the road. Even before the recent events, official projections of the budget surplus over the next 10 years had been reduced by $2.2 trillion. Those projections are very likely to be further reduced substantially with the recent deterioration in economic conditions and with the measures for defense, security and rebuilding now being developed. A prospect of a return to deficits not just in 2002, but in the years beyond may well be counter-productive in terms of raising long-term interest rates now. That would offset the fiscal stimulus...
... Nor, of course, can we ignore the effects of our actions today on the daunting fiscal challenges of tomorrow – measured in multi-trillion dollars of unfunded retirement and health care benefits for our rapidly aging baby-boomer population.
Those of us who have come together to sign this are Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. What unites us is our concern about the need to strengthen our national security, to restore U.S. economic growth and to protect the long-term fiscal health of our nation. The long-term strength of our economy gives us the short-term capacity to respond effectively to the events of September 11th. One need not be sacrificed for the other.
As you work to respond to the economic dimensions of the September 11th events, we ask the following: Don't just do something; do the right thing.”
The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to balanced federal budgets and generationally responsible fiscal policy. Former U.S. Senators Warren Rudman (R-N.H.) and Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) serve as Concord's co-chairs and former Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson serves as president.