WASHINGTON -- The Concord Coalition's President, Peter G. Peterson, will testify before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services today. Peterson will review the grave deterioration in the budget outlook over the past two years and the long-term injury resurgent deficits threaten to inflict on the economy and on future generations. He will then turn to the arguments the administration has made in favor of its tax plan and why he does not find many of them particularly persuasive.
Excerpts from the testimony:
“A future of mounting deficits is a cause for grave concern. Mounting deficits can slow and even halt the steady growth in material living standards that has always nourished the American Dream. When such deficits are incurred in order to fund a rising transfer from young to old, they also constitute an injustice against future generations.
“Are we meeting our generational obligations? One has to worry when we embrace a policy of endlessly rising deficits. This policy, after all, constitutes an explicit decision by today's adults to collectively shift the current cost of government from themselves to their children and grandchildren.
“There is no public finance textbook that teaches that you can ease the long-term tax burden simply by cutting the tax. Instead of pretending it can accomplish the impossible, the administration should be educating the public that, when you face a future of endless deficits, you have to cut spending long term before you cut taxes long term.
“I want to be very clear on this point. Neither I nor The Concord Coalition opposes smaller government or lower taxes. We simply require that, at the end of the day, revenues are sufficient to cover outlays. Washington policymakers must not pretend that we can have it all -- guns and butter AND tax cuts.”