The elections are over; now comes our chance to see if the big talkers can walk the walk when it comes to putting the national budget on a sustainable path for the future. The bipartisan commission on deficit reduction is due with its recommendations by the first of the month, and the crackling of the first embers of what should be a firestorm of debate are already being heard.
Good, because a real debate is what we need; not a standoff in which the major parties hurt lethal talking points at each other, but a real adult conversation about what our options are and which road we’d rather go down. This plan will serve as a starting point for that discussion and some painful decisions…not surprisingly, many of the people who just won the responsibility to make these decisions are already crawfishing back from the brink.
Raise the age to get Social Security? Trim benefits? Cut the home mortgage interest deduction for income taxes? Pentagon cutbacks? Higher gasoline taxes? Everything has to be on the table or we get nowhere; if this was easy, it would have already been done.
Our friends in Great Britain have the same problem, and the new government has come up with plan to reduce their deficit. This should provide a vivid lesson for U.S. lawmakers in how to implement a drastic but absolutely necessary program. I fear, however, we’re much more likely to see this: