National leaders play a dangerous game of policy “chicken” every time they defer corrective action on known challenges, hoping to address them later when it’s more politically expedient. But this “kick the can” strategy risks a slow moving cumulative disaster as unanticipated calamities (a war, a deadly pandemic, economic upheaval, or all three) pile atop problems that have been ignored. A case in point is the long-deferred fiscal challenge.
We have known for many years that the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, yet elected leaders of both parties have delayed, dodged, or simply ignored the warnings. In fact, they have recklessly piled on new spending and cut taxes.