Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Peterson-Pew in the Press

Dec 15, 2009 | Economics| Budget Process| Taxes

The Peterson-Pew Commission’s “Red Ink Rising” plan for American lawmakers has earned some black ink worldwide too since its release, not to mention some airtime for what CNBC called the Common Cause. There was also support in editorial pages from coast to coast. As Drudge underscored earlier today when it linked to Reuters: “US needs plan to tame debt soon.”

LATimes opined:  “Deficit-conscious lawmakers have proposed several ways to force Congress to address the looming fiscal problems, such as establishing a commission to recommend ways to bring the budget back into balance. We'd rather see Congress follow the recommendation of the nonpartisan Peterson-Pew Comission on Budget Reform and pledge to stabilize the federal debt at no more than 60% of GDP by 2018. Congress has time to figure out how best to curb its deficit-spending habit. Repairing the country's credibility as a borrower, however, can't wait.”

Noting the benchmarks and trigger in the Commission’s debt stabilization plan, The Washington Post editorial board said, “IT'S TIME to stop worrying about the deficit -- and start panicking about the debt…the fiscal picture is too daunting and too politically sensitive to be addressed under the regular order.”

AP’s Andrew Taylor answered the question of why debt is a problem now:   “the new wrinkle is that the U.S. budget deficit picture has worsened so much -- largely because tax revenues have fallen off so sharply -- that the government is likely to reach a crisis point much sooner than under past forecasts.''What was once a three-decade problem is now a one-decade problem,'' [Former CBO director Doug] Holtz-Eakin said.”

"The long-run future is upon us," said former Clinton administration budget chief Alice Rivlin. Bush administration debt, rapidly escalating health care costs, a deep recession that has slashed tax revenue, and record government spending this year on a $787 billion stimulus and a $700 billion bank rescue have, she said, "raised the debt very, very rapidly, to nervous-making levels," reported Caroline Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle.

WSJ’s Sudeep Reddy said the Peterson-Pew Commission had “outlined a plan to do what current Washington policymakers have been unable to do: bring the rising federal debt under control.” A Huffington Post writer found inspiration in that possibility. 

About the Post’s opinion, blogger Andrew Biggs thought it important to pass on these words: “Getting the debt back down to a reasonable level will require extraordinary, almost unimaginable, fiscal discipline and political cooperation. Failing to do so will lower the national standard of living and ultimately threaten America’s economic stability.”