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Posts Tagged ‘debt’

Progressives should support a ‘grand bargain’

October 26th, 2012


This piece was originally featured in Politico.

This week, some of the most vocal progressive organizations planted a flag in the ground in opposition to a grand bargain budget agreement in the lame duck Congress. Led by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who Tuesday wrote an op-ed in POLITICO, “Americans don’t want ‘grand bargain,’” these groups made a particular point in opposing any fixes to Social Security and Medicare. If too many progressives follow suit, this could not only damage our economy but also hurt the middle class and put retirement entitlements in ultimate danger.

For nearly a century, progressives have fought to construct a secure and comprehensive safety net. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, that mission is essentially complete. Now our challenge is to maintain the safety net as we approach the most consequential demographic aging in the nation’s history. Any responsible approach to fixing the safety net must necessarily include a balance of measures that make the programs healthy and solvent — new revenue, modest reductions in benefits to some recipients and a commitment to working class people that we will not raise payroll taxes on them in the future. We also believe the time to make these changes is now, for the following reasons: Read the rest of this entry »

A Grand Bargain, the Old School Way

September 20th, 2012


The U.S. economy keeps inching toward the fiscal cliff—the combination of spending cuts and tax increases set to occur at the end of this year.

But even as legislators leave town for the election, momentum is slowly building in Washington for a grand bargain to avert the cliff and reduce long-term deficits. We’re seeing increased discussion behind the scenes on the Hill, and additional momentum for a fiscal deal is coming from think tanks, advocacy groups, and CEOs.

We’re glad to hear the voices growing. Third Way has long argued that we can’t wait any longer to forge a deal on the debt—that the fiscal cliff presents a now-or-never opportunity for a deal. And Third Way’s founders, in a recent Politico column, urged Democrats to get specific about new revenue and spending cuts in a balanced plan.

Last week the wave of momentum was amplified by former Treasury secretaries James Baker and Robert Rubin, who joined a small bipartisan army of retired legislators speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The choice of two ex-Treasury chiefs to lead a charge of fiscal pragmatism is no surprise. As Reagan’s chief of staff, Baker brokered the 1982 deficit reduction deal, which combined tax increases with spending cuts. Rubin directed the National Economic Council when Clinton signed a budget deal in 1993.

These elder statesmen laid out their respective approaches to today’s deficit problem, admittedly much bigger than those they faced while in power. True to their parties, the two have major substantive differences on how to reduce the deficit.

Read the rest of this entry »