February 8 2013

The Left Needs to Step Up to the Fiscal Plate

Emily Wismer

 

While Congress remains polarized, one organization in Washington is successfully bringing together organizations on both sides of the aisle to begin conversations about deficit reduction. Fix the Debt, founded by deficit experts Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, is stepping up to the plate.

I was able to participate in this week’s discussion. While I am encouraged to see organizational leaders agree that entitlement reform is necessary, I am discouraged by the unwillingness of some to support policies necessary to make our entitlement programs solvent. In other words, while groups were able to come to some sort of consensus on principles, they are still a long way from consensus on solutions.

Any deficit reform package must protect our nation’s most vulnerable; that is a principle upon which almost any organization can agree. But when even the most basic reforms are referenced (like raising the retirement age for future, not soon to be, retirees), there is strong resistance on the Left.

We cannot fix our debt, spur job creation, foster innovation, or ease families’ budgets without addressing the insolvency of our social safety nets. And in order to do so, we need organizations from the left and right to come to the table with specific cuts. 

Entitlements don’t protect people from poverty, a robust economy that provides opportunity and growth does. Without solutions, uncertainty will continue to paralyze businesses to the peril of families’ financial opportunity. Furthermore, our nation will be stuck with a deficit reduction package neither side likes and one that does more harm than good.

A lot of time has passed. The Left has procrastinated proposing real entitlement deficit reduction solutions for years. It cannot stall any longer.

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