Esquire Commission Stabilizes the Debt!

They Did It!

Kudos to the Esquire Budget Commission for releasing a budget plan this morning! Former Senators Gary Hart, Bill Bradley, Bob Packwood and John Danforth came up with a plan to balance the budget by 2020. And their discussion was civil! Here's a table for how they would stabilize the debt.

The Esquire Commission: Policy Proposals

Policy Savings in 2020 (billions)
Social Security  
Gradually raise retirement age to 70 $49
Use chained CPI-U to calculate Social Security COLAs $23
Increase years used to calculate benefits $14
Subtotal, Social Security $86
Enact the Administration's proposed weapons system cuts $4
Reverse the "Grow the Army" Initiative $10
Restructure the military along strategic lines $169
Assume cost of engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq will decline $126
Subtotal, Defense $309
Health Care  
Institute medical malpractice reform by creating medical courts $10
Savings, Health Care $10
Other Spending  
Enact the Administration's proposed spending program terminations $10
Cut the federal workforce by five percent $26
Delay NASA missions to the Moon and Mars $4
Reform farm subsidies $13
Eliminate all earmarks $18
Use chained CPI-U for COLAS in federal civilian and military pensions $6
Subtotal, Other Spending $71
Subtotal, Spending Savings $476
Subtotal, Interest Savings $142
Total Spending Savings (Including Interest Savings) $618
Repeal employer health care exclusion and replace it with a tax credit $63
Increase the gas tax by $1 per gallon $130
Limit itemized deductions for higher earners $57
Keep tax rates near current policy levels -$273
Reduce state and local sales tax deduction by 80% $12
Eliminate subsidies for biofuels $16
Include new state and local government workers in Social Security $21
Total Revenue Increases $26
Total Projected Spending in 2020 $4,681
Total Projected Revenue in 2020 $4,693
Total Projected Surplus in 2020 $12
Projected Debt-to-GDP Ratio in 2020 52%

We have Paul Ryan’s Road map, the Galston-MacGuineas plan, and now a really good plan from four former members of Congress. We are thrilled to see more and more specific ideas entering the discussion.

We haven’t run through the numbers yet, but you can at