Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Go Big Gaining Momentum

Sep 13, 2011

Yesterday, we released a letter signed by over 60 leading budget experts from various fields urging the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (“Super Committee”) to Go Big in its mission to address the nation’s deficit and debt. Since yesterday’s press conference with the Fiscal Commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Al Simpson (who are also on the CRFB board and chair our Moment of Truth Project), the Go Big philosophy has gained traction. It was mentioned in pieces by Bloomberg, CNN Money, Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post and The Hill, to name a few.

But it isn’t only the press which is taking notice. Earlier today, Senator (and Super Committee Member) John Kerry cited our recent paper in endorsing our requests for what we want from the Super Committee. As he said:

“Last week, the Committee for a Responsible Budget, a bipartisan organization which includes some of our country’s leading experts on budget issues, including the co-chairs of the Fiscal Commission, recommended that this Committee “go big, go long, and go smart…

Director Elmendorf’s testimony today helps solidify the reality that we need to “go big” and reach savings of more than $1.5 trillion to address long-term deficits. We need to “go long” and address our long-term budget issues. And most importantly of all we need to “go smart” and address the budget without preconceived dogmas or political agendas. So I look forward to delving more deeply into these issues today, and helping us shape recommendations for this Committee and this Congress to adopt. Thank you.”

Mr. Kerry’s remarks are quite encouraging, especially when combined with those of his Super Committee colleague, Representative Chris Van Hollen, who threw his support behind:

“Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles [who] called upon our Committee to ‘go big’ – urging us to use this unique opportunity to develop a plan to reduce the deficit by over $4 trillion over 10 years”

Additionally, in his statement today before the committee Rep. Rob Portman highlighted the insufficiency of cutting $1.5 trillion over the next decade as compared to the growth of debt during that same period. Rep. Dave Camp then reiterated the notion that “at least” $1.5 trillion must be found in debt reduction. It seems that both parties on the Committee share the goal of going for at least $1.5 trillion and a desire to fulfill their mandate to assure the long-run health of the economy.

We are optimistic that the media’s response and the support of some members of the Super Committee are an indication of the accessibility of the ‘Go Big’ mantra and will hopefully help to spur the Super Committee to exceed its mandate in its recommendations to Congress.