I have written several times that we need to do something about our debt crisis, as the problem is only going to get worse. I liken it to having a water problem in your house. If you don’t fix it now, it will get far worse later on.
In addition to The Concord Coalition who I have mentioned before, a sister nonpartisan group to their effort spawns from the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget called Fix the Debt. The Board of Directors of the Committee include some big names who served in various government, think-tank and business roles. The Fix the Debt group was founded by former Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson of the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Committee.
I will provide a link below, but wanted to summarize a piece called “Fiscal Fact Checker: 16 Budget Myths to Watch Out For in the 2016 Campaign” which is dated August 6, 2015. Those myths are:
Myths about the National Debt
- We can continue borrowing without consequences
- With Deficits falling, our debt problems are behind us (this is expected to reverse in 2015-16)
- There is no harm in waiting to solve our debt problems
- Deficit reduction is code for austerity, which will harm the economy
Myths about Taxes
- Tax cuts pay for themselves
- We can fix the debt solely by taxing the top 1%
- We can dramatically lower tax rates by closing a few egregious loopholes
- Any tax increases will cripple economic growth
Myths about Health Care and Social Security
- Medicare and Social Security are earned benefits and therefore should not be touched
- Repealing Obamacare will fix the debt
- The Health Care cost problem is solved
- Social Security’s shortfall can be closed simply by raising taxes on or means-testing benefits for the wealthy
Myths about easy fixes
- We can solve our debt situation by cutting waste, fraud, abuse, earmarks and /or foreign aid
- We can grow our way out of debt
- A Balanced Budget Amendment is all we need to fix the debt
- We can fix the debt solely by cutting welfare spending
In addition to the above, I wanted to reiterate two global trends that impact the US as well. First, per the World Health Organization, we are the most obese country in the world, as well as having the highest costing health care system in the world. The Affordable Care Act has helped, but we are over-tested, over-medicated and future train wrecks waiting to happen This will create continued cost pressures on Medicare, Medicaid and the subsidies under Obamacare.
Second, per the World Economic Forum, we are an aging population. We are not as bad off as places like Japan, Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc., but as we age cost pressures on Social Security and Medicare/ Medicaid will heighten. For people in their 60’s, the average cost of health care is roughly twice that of folks in their 30’s. The aging is actually hitting some of our states and municipalities with increased retirement liabilities relative to fewer workers being hired. Detroit, Stockton, and Birmingham have all filed for bankruptcy, with this being a contributing cause, plus states like Illinois, New Jersey, etc. are having significant retirement cost pressures.
Please check out these two websites and see who is involved in these nonpartisan efforts.
Also ask your Senators, Congressional representatives and Presidential candidates what they plan to do about this. Like climate change and the global water crisis, we can no longer wait on action.