Budget-deficit-reduction devotees Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson rue Congress’ inability to come up with a more comprehensive fiscal-cliff solution than the one it just passed.
While the deal represents a “small step forward” for deficit reduction, “it’s truly a missed opportunity to do something big to reduce our long-term fiscal problems,” the duo say in a statement issued by Fix the Debt
, a group they founded.
Bowles was chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, and Simpson is a retired Wyoming Republican senator. They headed a panel on deficit reduction appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010. But their recommendations essentially went nowhere.
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As for fiscal cliff negotiations, “Washington missed this magic moment to do something big to reduce the deficit, reform our tax code and fix our entitlement programs,” the two say. “Even after taking the country to the brink of economic disaster, Washington still could not forge a common-sense bipartisan consensus on a plan that stabilizes the debt.”
Government leaders now must summon up the courage for real tax and entitlement reform to begin curbing the $16 trillion public debt, Bowles and Simpson say.
They aren’t totally discouraged. “We take some encouragement from the statements by the president and leaders in Congress that they recognize more work needs to be done,” the two say.
But “to reach an agreement, it will be absolutely necessary for both sides to move beyond their comfort zone.”
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