12/14/2009 - Its time to stop worrying about the deficit -- and start panicking about the debt. To put it another way, short-term deficits aren't the real problem. The punishing hangover of borrowed money is. The ballooning national debt once looked like a long-term problem. Now, the long-term has become the middle-term, fast-forwarded by the cratering economy and the unavoidable and immense spending in the service of saving it.
The fiscal situation was serious before the recession. It is now dire. An important proposal being released Monday by the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform urges Congress and the White House to commit immediately to stabilizing the debt at 60 percent of GDP by 2018; come up with a credible plan for getting there; and begin phasing in the necessary policy changes in 2012, once the recovery is fully underway.
Read the full editorial The Coming Debt Panic on The Washington Post's Web site.