WASHINGTON — With today’s release of the Bush Administration’s Mid–Session Review of the federal budget projecting a nearly $500 billion deficit next year, The Concord Coalition said that presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain should step up their efforts to address the nation’s deteriorating fiscal outlook. Concord warned that absent policy changes, future deficits would likely drift even higher and that vague promises of fiscal responsibility are utterly insufficient to explain how either candidate would deal with the problem if elected.
"There is very little in today’s report that could be described as ‘good news.‘ We’ve been skating on thin ice for the past few years, enjoying a revenue bubble and failing to plan ahead. The slowing economy has now demonstrated just how thin the ice was. Large deficits are back, which means we are headed into the fiscal pressures of the baby boomers retirement years from a position of fiscal weakness. It is already clear that whoever is elected president in 2008 will face crucial decisions about the path of our nation’s fiscal policy that go well beyond what may be needed to balance the budget in the short-term," said Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert Bixby.
The revisions to the near-term fiscal numbers result from updated economic assumptions and legislation enacted since February. While the current administration projects budget balance by 2012, The Concord Coalition warned that more realistic assumptions paint a far less optimistic picture. Assuming continued but slower spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, Alternative Minimum Tax relief, and discretionary spending levels in line with economic growth, Concord suggested a plausible deficit in 2012 of over $400 billion.
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-NH) and Bob Kerrey (D-NE) serve as Concord’s co-chairs and former Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson serves as president.