Concord Coalition Releases "Seven Signs of Fiscal Sense"; Says Congress Should Quit While It's Ahead on the Deficit

Press Release
Monday, December 19, 2005
WASHINGTON -- With Congress nearing completion of the fiscal year 2006 spending "reconciliation" bill, The Concord Coalition said that enactment of the bill would result in a modest amount of deficit reduction, but only if the savings are not erased by pending tax cuts that Congress intends to enact early next year. In an analysis released today, Concord concluded that the deficit would decline to $185 billion in 2010 under the policies passed by Congress, excluding the tax cuts. However, when the tax cuts are included and gimmicks hiding the full costs of other policies are removed, Concord projected that the deficit will remain above $300 billion for the rest of the decade.

"If Congress were to stop with enactment of the spending reconciliation bill, they could take credit for a modest deficit reduction package. Unfortunately, Congressional leaders have made it clear that when Congress returns next year the first item on the legislative agenda will be tax cuts that are more than twice the size of the spending cuts now being considered. The only way for Congress to make the title of the "Deficit Reduction Act" a reality is if they quit while they are ahead on the deficit and re-establish pay-as-you-go rules requiring offsets for all tax cuts and entitlement spending increases," said Robert L. Bixby, Executive Director of The Concord Coalition.

Bixby made his comments while releasing The Concord Coalition's "Seven Signs of Fiscal Sense" for evaluating budget plans and an accompanying analysis of current Congressional budget actions under those criteria. Concord's Seven Signs of Fiscal Sense are:

1. Does the plan achieve actual deficit reduction?

2. Does the budget plan build on realistic assumptions?

3. Does the budget plan contain offsets for new initiatives?

4. Does the budget plan achieve a path of sustainable deficit reduction beyond the forecast year window?

5. Does the budget plan share the burden of deficit reduction across generations and income levels?

6. Does the plan establish credible enforcement mechanisms?

7. Is the plan politically viable over the long-term?

"A serious deficit reduction effort will require difficult choices and tradeoffs. The arithmetic is simple: our nation cannot afford to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, increase funding for homeland security, rebuild the Gulf Coast, adequately prepare for the retirement of the baby boom generation and meet other national needs while simultaneously cutting taxes and maintaining current spending levels for all other programs," said Bixby.

The Concord Coalition's "Seven Signs of Fiscal Sense" (PDF format; Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

The accompanying Analysis of Current Congressional Budget Actions (PDF format; Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grass roots organization dedicated to balanced federal budgets and generationally responsible fiscal policy. Former U.S. Senators Warren Rudman (R-NH) and Bob Kerrey (D-NE) serve as Concord's co-chairs and former Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson serves as president.



CONTACT: Harry Zeeve (703) 894-6222 [email protected]