Peterson-Pew Commission Issues New Report!

The Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform today called on Congress and the President to overhaul the federal budget process in a new report, Getting Back in the Black. The Commission, which has spent the past two years studying the federal budget process, warned last year in its first report, Red Ink Rising, that on its current course, the federal debt is likely to reach 100 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product early in the next decade. We recommended that policymakers make a commitment to stabilizing the federal debt at 60 percent of GDP by 2018. In our report today, we provide the framework we believe policymakers should use to reach that goal. In Getting Back in the Black, we call on Congress to pass and the President to sign a Sustainable Debt Act that would establish targets and new enforcement mechanisms to ensure those targets are met, and that we get on a path to stabilize the debt.

We propose major changes to a process that is badly broken. Without the type of changes we recommend, policymakers will continue limping along through the process, enacting incremental legislation that does nothing to attack the soaring debt. They will continue to make budget decisions that are expedient in the short run but cannot be sustained over the long term. Debt will continue its projected rise, with interest payments crowding out other priorities and potentially contributing to a stagnant economy.

Be sure to check out the executive summary and full report here.