Some common sense, nonpartisan, bipartisan words from Judd Gregg and Ed Rendell:
The numbers are daunting to even the most calloused economic observer. Over the past 40 years our national debt has averaged less than 40 percent of GDP – it now stands at over 70 percent. Without significant, fundamental and comprehensive reforms, the debt will reach 90 percent of the economy within 10 years and exceed 250 percent by the early 2040s. These crippling levels of debt threaten the strength of our economy, our standard of living, and the next generations’ access to the hope and opportunity we have come to accept as an American birthright. We can fix this problem, but we need to act now.
It’s no secret how we got here. Elected officials from both parties have made commitments that exceeded available resources, hoping that another Congress or another generation would foot the bill. That’s neither realistic nor fair and it’s a recipe for a very unpleasant economic reckoning.
Against this backdrop, we announced the establishment of “The Campaign to Fix the Debt”, a non-partisan initiative that aims to enlist the American people to urge Congress and the president to pass meaningful debt reduction.
The founding coalition includes members from different parties and different perspectives, united around the common belief that America’s growing federal debt threatens our future and that inaction on this front is no longer an option. The campaign will mobilize key communities – including leaders from business, government, and policy – and people all across America who want to see elected officials step up and solve our nation’s fiscal challenges.
We have joined together for this campaign to call on policymakers from both sides of the aisle to determine the best way to gradually and intelligently bring our debt under control. The solutions won’t be easy – they will require some combination of cuts to low-priority spending, controls on the growth of entitlements to make them sustainably solvent, and revenue-raising tax reform. We simply cannot afford all the promises we’ve made. But if we do this right, we can make reforms in a way that protects the most vulnerable, prioritizes important investments in areas like infrastructure and education, and enhances economic growth.
Our measure of success will be the passage of a deal that restores the faith of the American people in our ability to come together for a higher purpose, and the faith of the financial markets in the federal government’s commitment to a realistic and sustainable fiscal policy.
In the weeks and months to come, we will be pushing out this message to people across the country and providing them with opportunities to make their voices heard. In the meantime, we encourage you to sign the grassroots petition and learn more about our campaign at www.fixthedebt.org.
In our history, America has always been able to come together to tackle its greatest challenges and we are confident that the same will be true this time. We both know all too well the pressures of running for office, hewing to party lines and succumbing to a win-at-all-costs attitude. But the stakes are too high, and the potential consequences too grim, for politics as usual. It’s time to put aside partisan differences and put forward positive solutions. We hope you’ll join us in this cause.
Judd Gregg is the former Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Ed Rendell is the former Governor of Pennsylvania.