From Sound Bites to Solutions
Getting to real solutions to the fiscal challenges facing the country requires asking the right questions. Today CRFB offered “Ten Questions to Ask the Candidates” in order to move the election rhetoric away from the grandstanding and finger-pointing that are dominating the campaign.
Candidates of all stripes are talking about the deficit, yet few are offering specific ideas that will address the issue in a significant way. This new reference from CRFB was designed to help voters identify truly fiscally responsible candidates. The questions involve critical topics such as extending the tax cuts, Social Security, health care, and defense spending.
The deficit has become a top campaign issue, which is promising, but such prominence for the topic will only be helpful if it gets policymakers and candidates for office to seriously talk about the issue and what will be required to address it.
Why is this so important? Our national debt is headed toward previously unseen levels. It is rapidly rising as a share of our economy. The primary drivers are rising health care costs, our aging population, and an imbalance of government revenue and spending.
Soaring debt will cause multiple problems:
Economic: Crowds out private investment, driving up the cost of capital and credit, slowing economic growth, lowering standards of living.
Budgetary: Growing interest payments squeeze out other spending and room for future tax cuts.
Fiscal: Loss of fiscal flexibility for when we need to respond to the next emergency.
Psychological: Uncertainty for individuals and businesses.
Risk: Increases the likelihood of a fiscal crisis.
So ask your candidates the tough questions and demand answers. While you are at it, challenge them to do CRFB’s Stabilize the Debt budget simulator and make their results public.