A Washington Post editorial today sums up a bunch of different strands of thinking about the federal budget that Concord has been writing about and talking about a lot recently. One is that the country can "walk and chew gum" at the same time when it comes to short-term actions to help the economy that may involve increased deficits and long-term planning to confront the nation's real fiscal challenges. Another is that the current debate in Congress over the cost of tax-extenders is failing to focus on their merits while the overall fiscal challenge continues to go unexamined. A third is that we generally do know what actions need to be taken to reform federal programs over the long run -- but that members of Congress lack the political courage to act, and hopefully the President's fiscal commission can begin to move us in the right direction.
The editorial focused on an important speech by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, given at an event earlier in the week (transcript here, video here.) After the speech, Concord Coalition Executive Director Bob Bixby spoke on a panel with David Walker from the Peterson Foundation and Bob Greenstein from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities where there was a high level of agreement on Hoyer's remarks and the big fiscal issues discussed above. The event is worth watching because at this controversial and crucial time for fiscal policy, it is a good review of where we stand and where we need to go.