October 30, 2014

Three Key Players Can Help End 'Deficit Denial'

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...
Whether the United States can move beyond “deficit denial” may depend on three elected officials who will each present a budget plan early next year: President Obama, incoming House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND).

Obama will present his budget to Congress in February. Ryan and Conrad will then present their own draft budgets, each with an eye towards their parties’ policy agendas and the 2012 election.

“The path of least resistance for all three of these key players would be to dig in, tend to their political bases and blame each other for gridlock,” warns Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. “We’ve seen that movie and it doesn’t end well.”

A better alternative, Bixby says in a new op-ed for CNBC, would be compromise and careful consideration of the work of two bipartisan commissions that proposed a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases that would be phased in as the economy strengthens:

“If Obama and Ryan join Conrad’s call for a summit to negotiate a joint budget plan—building on the solid groundwork of the two commissions—they may be able to achieve a game-changing breakthrough.”