10 Themes Emerging from the New Debt Reduction Plans

We at CRFB have been calling for people to Get Specific on ways to deal with our long-term fiscal crisis for quite some time.  Well, since that has finally started to happen and deficit reduction plans seem to be in vogue (which couldn’t make CRFB happier), the second stage of the process, seeing where the plans intersect, is now beginning. And to start this process, we have a new paper that will help.

Today, we released a policy paper entitled "10 Themes Emerging from the New Debt Reduction Plans", looking at many of the major plans that have been released so far (Rep. Paul Ryan's Roadmap, the Co-Chairs' of the Fiscal Commission draft proposal, the Esquire Commission, the Galston-MacGuineas plan, the Bipartisan Debt Reduction Task Force, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky's proposal). We analyzed each of the plans and noticed that no matter what some of the critics say, there is significant agreement among most, if not all, of the plans on several large themes.

We break the similarities into ten themes:

  1. Yes, the Deficit Does Matter
  2. A Credible Fiscal Plan Is a Necessary Part of an Economic Recovery Strategy
  3. There Is Plenty of Room for Defense Cuts without Compromising National Security
  4. Health Care Needs a Budget
  5. Domestic Discretionary Freezes—or Cuts—Are on the Way
  6. Social Security Needs a Lasting Fix
  7. Tax Expenditures—Spending Through the Tax Code—Are Desperately in Need of Reform
  8. The Gap Is Too Large to Keep Revenues Off of the Table – Changes Should Be Part of Fundamental Reform in the Longer-Term
  9. It Is All about Entitlement Reform
  10. Fiscal Goals: 60 is the New 40

Overall, most of the plans address these issues. This is great news. While the plans have significant different approaches, such as the Ryan and  Schakowsky proposals, they share many priorities. There is enough in common among plans that span the political spectrum that we hope policymakers will begin ironning out the details.