Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who both chaired a White House deficit-reduction commission last year, says the U.S. will face a fiscal crisis in two years or less, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The problem, the two tell lawmakers, is that Congress is looking for ways to cut domestic discretionary spending, which makes up only 12 percent of government expenditures, when it should do more to tackle heftier entitlement programs.
The U.S. has $14.1 trillion in debt and should run a $1.65 trillion deficit in 2011.
|Erskine Bowles (L) and Alan Simpson
"This problem is going to happen long before my grandchildren grow up," says Bowles, who was White House chief of staff during the Clinton administration.
Everyone will know a fiscal crisis is erupting when "our bankers over there in Asia begin to believe we are not going to be solid on our debt, that we are not going to be able to meet our obligations. Just stop and think a minute what happens if they stop buying our debt. What happens to interest rates? What happens to the U.S. economy? The markets will absolutely devastate us if we don’t step up to this problem."
Simpson, a former Republican U.S. senator from Wyoming, says the fiscal crisis looms not far on the horizon, pointing out that "I think it will come before two years."
Lawmakers agree the need to cut spending is vital.
"The time for gridlock is over. We do not have time to go around the bush and around the bush and around the bush to debate the specifics of our perfect solutions," say Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, CNNMoney reports.
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