The president billed his plan as $4.4 trillion worth of debt reduction over 10 years. But $2.4 trillion of that comes from lower interest payments, alleged savings from winding down overseas wars Mr. Obama never planned to fight and discretionary cuts that were legislated a year ago. Mr. Boehner’s letter similarly identifies only $2.2 trillion of new revenues and cuts.
It will take more than that to dent the debt. A new report from a Bipartisan Policy Center task force headed by former senator Pete Domenici, a Republican, and former budget director Alice Rivlin, a Democrat, suggests that it would take $2.8 trillion in fresh cuts and revenue to stabilize the debt at 69 percent of gross domestic product by 2022 — above historical levels but sustainable. It would appear that Republicans and Democrats must not only come together but also raise their sights.