November 23, 2014

Politicians Should Aim Higher

Although Congress reached agreement last month on a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut, more partisan logjams are widely anticipated in the months ahead – even though compromise and bipartisan cooperation will be needed to make the big policy changes that could put the country on a better fiscal and economic path.

In a recent op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor, Concord Coalition Chief Economist Diane Lim Rogers says that many of the arguments in Washington’s budget battles seem to have “more to do with the fictional scripts inside politicians’ minds than the actual opinions of voters.”

Questioning a Republican talking point, Rogers notes that an NPR reporter had recently looked for millionaires “who would stop hiring because of higher taxes, and she couldn't locate anyone willing to support that theory – not even when she went to the Republican politicians who are most vocal on that claim.”

Some Democrats, meanwhile, have joined with the AARP in trying to keep Social Security reform off the negotiating table. Yet AARP’s campaign on this has been misleading, and many older Americans – concerned about their children and grandchildren -- have shown they have a better understanding of the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that would include responsible changes in the entitlement programs.

Rogers recalls the words of the late Paul Tsongas as he helped start The Concord Coalition two decades ago: "We are better than what we are being asked to be by our leaders."

Read more with In Budget Battle, Voters are the “Adults in the Room”