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Question of the Week: Fiscal Responsibility

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Question: I have concerns with the proposal made November 10 by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. What is your opinion?

Answer: On February 18, 2010, President Obama signed an executive order establishing the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The Commission's purpose is to put forth solutions to tackle our fiscal challenges.

On November 10, 2010, the Commission's co-chairs released an outline of their proposal to put the federal budget in primary balance by 2015. This outline includes discretionary spending cuts, tax reform options, mandatory spending cuts, and Social Security reforms. Fourteen of the 18 members of the Commission now must vote in favor of a single package to present to Congress for an up-or-down vote by December 1, 2010. If no consensus is met, the Commission will dissolve without sending any proposal to Congress.

I have serious concerns about different aspects in the outline, including any proposal that would lead to an increase in taxes. We need to balance the budget, but our first priority should be to eliminate wasteful government spending rather than increase taxes on employers and hard-working families. I continue to carefully study the proposal and look forward to the more detailed analysis.

For more information on my positions on economic issues, please see my Economy issues page.


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