Work together to fix debtIf you’re like us, you’ve grown tired of the partisan bickering in this country. Everyone seems to be at each other’s throats on any given issue but no one is offering any solutions.
By: By Tony Earl, Scott Klug, and Maya MacGuineas, Superior Telegram
If you’re like us, you’ve grown tired of the partisan bickering in this country. Everyone seems to be at each other’s throats on any given issue but no one is offering any solutions.
Wisconsinites understand the importance of cooperation and the value of hard work. And we must utilize these ideals to confront an urgent problem plaguing this nation: the national debt.
Totaling a whopping $16 trillion, this massive amount of debt is on an upward trajectory, and its effects have the potential to cripple our economy for generations and to drain funding for much needed domestic and national security programs alike. Growing at the current rate, we are not so far from annual trillion-dollar interest payments on this debt — which would be sure to divert necessary resources from education, national defense and maintaining low tax rates, among other policy priorities.
While the fight to curb our national debt is of the utmost importance, we face another more immediate dilemma that threatens our short-term financial stability. The sudden, nearly across-the-board spending cuts and expiring tax breaks — collectively known as the “fiscal cliff” — are approaching on Jan. 1, and careening off the cliff is sure to cause an instant contraction in the economy early next year. The lack of faith in our political leaders to avert the cliff already has businesses nationwide suspending hiring and postponing new investment.
What needs to be done is clear. Our elected leaders need to work across the aisle and come up with an agreement that will avert the fiscal cliff while gradually bringing down the debt as a share of the economy, all in a way that will protect our fragile economic recovery and put us on a sustainable fiscal path. Such an agreement must take a hard look at all government spending and our loophole-riddled tax code. This agreement would necessitate compromises on both sides, something politicians don’t do enough of these days. They need to know there is a political upside to cooperation, and that’s why we have brought bipartisan leaders around Wisconsin together to form a state chapter of the Campaign to the Fix the Debt.
Committed to raising awareness about our national debt and resolving this issue, the Campaign to Fix the Debt was founded by former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles — authors of the well-known Simpson-Bowles plan. They have brought together a widely respected group of budget experts, business leaders, former members of congress and concerned citizens from across the country to call on our elected leaders to address the run-away debt, before we are run over.
If you agree that we can’t keep kicking the can down the road on our national debt, our leaders need to hear from you. They need to hear that inaction is simply not an option. One simple step you can take to make sure your voice is heard is to sign up with the Campaign to Fix the Debt.
For the sake of our future, visit FixTheDebt.org and join more than 300,000 concerned Americans who have already signed the Citizen’s Petition to Fix the Debt.
We cannot afford more politics as usual. Washington needs more Wisconsin values like pragmatism and a strong work ethic.
There is a lot of work to be done, but challenges are made to be overcome. Let’s get to work together. Let’s Fix the Debt.
Tony Earl is a former Democratic Governor of Wisconsin; Scott Klug is a former Republican member of the U.S. Congress; and Maya MacGuineas is president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.