Concord Coalition Offers Questions Voters Should Ask Candidates

Published Sep 13, 2012. In Arizona Daily Independent.

The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility, formed by former U.S. Senators Warren B. Rudman, and Sam Nunn is offering a set of questions voters should ask candidates about our nation’s fiscal future.

The group says that with the “federal budget running annual deficits in excess of one trillion dollars, and many official and unofficial sources warning that current fiscal policies are not sustainable, it is vital that voters in 2012 demand realistic solutions from the candidates.Our nation is undergoing an unprecedented demographic transformation against the backdrop of rising health care costs and falling national savings. It is an ominous combination for our economic future.”

The Concord Coalition suggested questions:

1) At the end of 2012, numerous tax cuts are scheduled to expire. At the same time, automatic spending cuts triggered by the 2011 bipartisan agreement to raise the debt limit are scheduled to begin (the “sequester”). Such sudden deficit reduction would be harmful to the economy and thus has been referred to as a “fiscal cliff.” What would you do to ensure we enact deficit reduction but in a more economically responsible way?

2) Do you support the comprehensive approach that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles) recommended and its $4 trillion deficit-reduction target? If not, what would your target be and which areas of the budget, if any, would you exempt from deficit-reduction efforts?

3) Could you identify some areas where you see particular opportunities for bipartisan cooperation on fiscal reform?

4) Do you think discretionary spending programs should face steeper cuts than other parts of the budget? If so, what are some specific examples of the programs that should be cut the most?

5) Do you believe military spending can be brought down to where it was before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? If so, how quickly could that be done? Can substantial savings be achieved without jeopardizing national security?

6) What are some examples of programs that you consider clearly wasteful or subject to widespread fraud and abuse, and how much savings would you expect to recover by reforming or eliminating these programs?