Erskine Bowles, Alan Simpson, and Maya MacGuineas: Who Won and Lost in the Debt Deal?

In today's Washington Post, several contributors offered their thoughts on the recent debt deal reached by leaders in Washington to raise the debt ceiling. Among the contributors were CRFB board members Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson and CRFB president Maya MacGuineas.

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson wrote that while they are glad the federal government will avoid default, this deal is not enough to restore our fiscal health and should be regarded as nothing more than a first step. They also shared some of the lessons they learned as co-chairs of the President's bipartisan fiscal commission, saying:

If there is one lesson from our commission’s work that should stand as the best guide for the work of the new committee, it is this: The more we put on the table, and the bigger, more far-reaching and more comprehensive we made our plan, the more support we received from our members. The only way politicians can make painful choices is if they know the other side is making painful choices as well and if they know they are solving the whole problem at once, so they don’t have to come back and do it all again.

There is a reason we named our final report “The Moment of Truth.” It’s time to go big or go home.

Maya MacGuineas also expressed relief that the government will avoid default, but added that there isn't much else to be happy about. An opportunity to enact comprehensive fiscal reform along the lines of Bowles-Simpson or the Gang of Six was missed, she wrote, and the deal we ended up with isn't nearly strong enough.

She concluded on a hopeful note, however, saying:

But all hope is not lost. Let’s hope the members of the super-committee are lawmakers who have sincere interest in addressing our fiscal challenges and a willingness to work across the aisle. Markets and outside institutions such as the Fed, the International Monetary Fund and the credit rating agencies are likely to maintain the pressure to do something real. It is conceivable that this committee could go for the brass ring, exceeding its mandate and expectations. If it does, we still have a chance to fix our fiscal problems with a package that can preserve the key priorities of both parties: pro-growth tax policies and protection of public investments and those who depend on government programs. If the committee doesn’t, this task will only get harder over time.

Click here to read the full list of commentaries.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.