Ten former leaders of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers have written an op-ed column, appearing Thursday on Politico, urging Congress and President Obama to stop bickering and take up the proposals offered by a bipartisan deficit commission.
The commentary is signed by economists from both Republican and Democratic administrations.
These former economic advisers lament the fact that a comprehensive deficit-reduction proposal issued last December — by a presidential commission led by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson — has been largely ignored. The proposal contained a mix of changes to both sides of the federal ledger, including entitlement cuts and tax increases.
While the commission itself was created with great fanfare, its proposals for long-term budget fixes — like, frankly, most proposals for long-term budget fixes — have fallen by the wayside. Lately Congress has instead focused on cuts to the 2011 fiscal year deficit.
In the commentary, the former White House advisers acknowledge that they do not necessarily each endorse every individual piece of the presidential commission’s proposal, but say they believe that the overall package should still be “the starting point of an active legislative process that involves intense negotiations between both parties.”
Each one of us could probably come up with a deficit reduction plan we like better. Some of us already have. Many of us might prefer one of the comprehensive alternative proposals offered in recent months.
Yet we all strongly support prompt consideration of the bipartisan commission’s proposals. The unsustainable long-run budget outlook is a growing threat to our well-being. Further stalemate and inaction would be irresponsible.
We know the measures to deal with the long-run deficit are politically difficult. The only way to accomplish them is for members of both parties to accept the political risks together. That is what the Republicans and Democrats on the commission who voted for the bipartisan proposal did.
We urge Congress and the president to do the same.