03/19/2010 - The national debt stands at $7.6 trillion and is growing fast, rising by nearly $2 trillion in 2009—an unsustainable rate and a threat to the economy, according to the report Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt, issued in December by the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform. The commission calls on policy makers to enact both spending cuts and tax increases to shift our nation’s fiscal course.
The group recommends that Congress and the White House
- adopt an ambitious, but achievable target that would reduce the public debt to 60 percent of the gross domestic product by 2018;
- negotiate a specific package of spending reductions and tax increases that are gradually phased in to protect the recovering economy; and
- create an automatic enforcement mechanism to keep revenues and spending on target.
The commission followed this report with Budget Blueprint: Paths to 60%
, which demonstrates the types and magnitude of policy changes needed to reach that figure in eight years.
The Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform is a partnership of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. It does not endorse specific tax and spending policies but aims to
build bipartisan consensus for a core set of reforms.
The commission comprises former members of Congress, including co-chairs Bill Frenzel, Tim Penny and Charlie Stenholm, as well as former heads of the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability
Office, plus other fiscal experts.
To access all of its work, go to http://budgetreform.org
.This article appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of