Patt Morrison for November 17, 2010

The OTHER debt commission takes its turn forcing America to stare down its indebted reality

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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama speaks alongside members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform prior to their meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC in April.

It’s a rare feat in American politics to make proposals that are equally condemned by Republicans and Democrats, which is exactly what President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform managed to do last week with recommendations on reducing the nation’s multi-trillion-dollar debt. From drastic cuts in defense spending to tough reform of heritage entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, the president’s commission drew condemnations from conservatives and liberals alike, even as most people acknowledged that these were the kinds of tough choices the country will eventually be forced to make if we’re serious about closing the almost $14 trillion debt. Now another debt reduction task force, this one sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center, is about to release its ideas that aim to reduce and stabilize the debt at less than 60% of the economy—for good measure they also are tackling tax reform, healthcare costs and Social Security. Will the other debt commission’s recommendations be equally painful?

Guests:

Don Marron, Director, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center; visiting professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute; former ember Council of Economic Advisors; and former Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office

G. William Hoagland, Vice President of Public Policy, CIGNA; former Staff Director of the Senate Budget Committee; and former Director of Budget and Appropriations for the Office of Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist


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