Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

MY VIEW: Erskine Bowles & Alan Simpson

Oct 3, 2011

Sunday's Washington Post featured an op-ed written by Fiscal Commission and Moment of Truth project co-chairs (and CRFB board members!) Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. The authors draw on their experience as co-chairs of the fiscal commission to give advice to the Super Committee, which they say can be summed up in seven words: "Go big, be bold, and be smart".

Bowles and Simpson talk about the importance of finding at least $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and how "going big" could actually help the Super Committee reach a deal by ensuring that sacrifices are made on both sides of the aisle. They reference the final report of the Fiscal Commission and write that:

When we presented our co-chairmen’s proposal to the rest of the fiscal commission in November, Washington insiders were shocked that we so aggressively exceeded our mandate. They were sure that the proposal would need to be scaled back to get a majority vote. It turned out that the opposite was true. The more comprehensive we made it, the easier our job became. The tougher our proposal, the more people came aboard.

Commission members were willing to take on their sacred cows and fight special interests — but only if they saw others doing the same and if what they were voting for solved the country’s problems. This spirit of shared sacrifice gained us broad bipartisan support, spanning from Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin to Republican Sen. Tom Coburn. We would not have garnered that type of support had we not taken on defense, domestic programs, the solvency of Social Security, health care, and spending in the tax code all at once.

They conclude:

If the supercommittee is bold, it can put forward a smart, well-formulated deficit reduction plan that not only reduces our deficit but also maintains our economic health and restores public confidence in America’s ability to govern wisely and prudently. Failure to do so will incur a great price.

Click here to read the full Washington Post op-ed.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.