MY VIEW: Bill Frenzel, Tim Penny, Jim Nussle, and Charlie Stenholm
Today in Politico, all four of the CRFB Co-Chairs penned an op-ed entitled, To Deficit Panel: Go Big, Long and Smart. Bill Frenzel, Tim Penny, Jim Nussle, and Charlie Stenholm lay out the reasons why the Super Committee must Go Big, Go Long, and Go Smart (see our policy paper for a more in-depth view) and then explain why it is both smart economically and politically to do so. They argue that Going Big can also improve the chances of the Super Committee succeeding.
Going big, long and smart, isn’t just the right economic strategy. By putting the debt on a sustainable path and avoiding further downgrades from the rating agencies — it is the right political strategy.
First, it may actually be easier to agree to a $4 trillion package than $1.5 trillion. In a larger package, entitlement reform can put the country’s largest program on a sustainable path rather than rely on half measures. Revenues will come from a growth-enhancing overhaul of the tax system rather than just rifle shots that may close small tax loopholes but won’t fundamentally help the economy. While tough measures will be necessary either way, they are a lot easier to swallow if they are part of a package that fixes the problem. It would be politically appealing to declare final victory, instead of yet another budget showdown that ends in a punt.
Second, the American people are fed up with the political system. Even the most casual observer can see the inability of our leaders to make hard choices. Going big would show the public that Washington can work. Both parties in Congress and the White House need a reputational overhaul — and fixing the budget would do the trick. The public is hungry for real progress on reducing the deficit. Sixty percent of Americans say the Select Committee should compromise on a grand bargain to reduce the deficit, according to a recent poll, even if the deal includes policies they disagree with.
We only hope the Select Committee is up to the job.
Click here to read the full Politico op-ed.