An Open Letter to Fix the Debt

In a joint POLITICO ad with the Concord Coalition and the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget sent an open letter to leaders in Washington telling them to, well, lead! The letter noted the downsides of two paths on the extremes we could possibly take -- go off the cliff and head back into a recession next year or, even worse, waive all the savings in the year-end fiscal cliff and keep piling on debt. Of course, there are bipartisan solutions that could avoid both of these dangerous outcomes and set the U.S. on a strong path. Here is an excerpt from the letter:

Automatic across-the-board spending cuts and huge increases in tax rates are not the smart way to solve our long-term fiscal problems and it risks throwing the economy back into recession. The threat of the fiscal cliff should be enough to force a grand debt-reduction bargain across the finish line.

If Washington leaders punt with a promise to deal with the debt problem later, it will send a message to the public and the markets that they aren’t serious about dealing with this problem.

Legislation addressing the spending and revenue elements of the fiscal cliff needs to be accompanied by concrete steps toward a long-term debt reduction plan.

This binding framework for debt reduction must be credible to the public and to domestic and international markets, and must include effective enforcement mechanisms.

We believe leaders in Washington are in agreement that the fiscal cliff presents an opportunity to enact a long-term debt reduction plan. The President and Congress have received several comprehensive bipartisan plans from elected officials and other budget experts. Use this opportunity to forge agreement.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is advocating coming to such an agreement within the next year. Sign the petition to fix the debt if you agree that we need a comprehensive deficit reduction plan.

The full open letter is below.