Ideas. Action. Results.

Stabilize the Debt l Protect Medicare Act l Pro-Growth Tax Reform l Payroll Tax Holiday l Chained Consumer Price Index

“We believe that a grand bargain would have enormous economic benefits and would also reassure citizens and markets that our political process is functioning in the public interest, not stuck in partisan gridlock…

“Failure to reach agreement would increase the chances of continuing weakness in the economy, high joblessness, and deep distrust of the ability of elected leaders to govern.” – Debt Reduction Task Force Co-Chairs Senator Pete Domenici and Dr. Alice Rivlin in testimony before the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, November 1, 2011


Photo credit: Melina Mara, The Washington Post

The United States is at a crossroad with an economy plagued by 14 million people out of work and a massive debt that now exceeds $10 trillion. The so-called ”super committee” has been charged with identifying at least $1.2-$1.5 trillion in savings over the next ten years. Given our serious economic woes, the tumultuous financial markets, and the gridlock that Congress faces, the Committee’s work could not be more important to the nation. With a November 23rd reporting deadline approaching, this “super” committee has become, indeed, a “crisis” committee.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Domenici-Rivlin Task Force urges that ideology be set aside, cooperation prevail, and that the American people be put first. Failure is not an option, and the super committee must go beyond $1.2 trillion and achieve reforms that will stabilize the debt. In order to do so, the Committee should take full advantage of the authority given to it by the Budget Control Act (BCA) , and compel fundamental tax and entitlement reform and provide for “fast-track” consideration of those reforms.

The BPC recommends a three-step process in order to spur our economy, achieve savings and stabilize our debt:

  • Step 1 was passage of the BCA, which provided $900 billion in discretionary savings and created the mandate for the super committee.
  • Step 2 – in progress – calls on the super committee to identify a downpayment of $1.2-$1.5 trillion in net deficit reduction over ten years, which should be accompanied by a full payroll tax holiday to spur the economy. The deficit reduction should utilize the many bipartisan plans that have been released, combining spending cuts from all parts of the budget with revenues. These savings also must be real – no budgetary gimmicks. BPC has laid out a feasible path to that target. Many of these policies are not overly popular , but a comprehensive plan – one that addresses every aspect of the budget – is the most politically palatable approach.
  • Step 3 requires the super committee to take full advantage of Section 404 of the BCA and instruct the relevant authorizing committees to legislate further reform. The two primary areas of focus should be fundamental, pro-growth tax reform that raises revenue, and structural Medicare reform to ensure the future sustainability and efficiency of the program, as explained in the Domenici-Rivlin Protect Medicare Act.

Should the “crisis” committee fail to encourage growth and stabilize our fiscal situation, the consequences will be dire. Public and market confidence will drop, indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts (via a sequester) will follow, and the American quality of life could suffer as a result. Prudent action is needed now.

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