In an ode to irony, The Fiscal Times reports that President Obama’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (more popularly known as the “debt commission”) is running out of money:
President Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission is operating on a shoestring budget and some panel members and lawmakers worry that it may run short of money.
The 18-member commission faces the daunting challenge of coming up with proposals by Dec. 1 to tame the federal government’s trillion-dollar budget deficit. But the panel’s own budget is only $500,000, barely enough to cover office rent and the salaries of four staff members.
And though the White House and Treasury have loaned the panel experts from their own payrolls, and several think tanks are helping as well, the total full-time staff currently is only about 15 people and not expected to exceed 20. Money is so tight that the commission recently abandoned hopes of holding field hearings around the country to gather views from outside of Washington.
The reasons for and solutions to our fiscal problems are not unknown. We spend too much money on bloated government budgets, while continually shoveling money in to entitlement programs that are careening towards fiscal ruin. The only way to get a handle on the debt is to fundamentally change the way the federal government spends money and the programs it spends it on. In fact, the only question that is ever in doubt is whether politicians in Washington have the political will to do what needs to be done.
When the commission was set to begin deliberations, Heritage released a short WebMemo outlining many of the steps that must be taken to get our historic debt under control. Those principles of reform are simple:
- Move Toward Historical Levels of Taxes and Spending
- Bring Long-Term Solvency to Social Security and Medicare and Reform Medicaid
- Reopen the Health Care Law
- Offer Specific Spending Reforms, Not Just Numerical Targets
- No New Taxes or Tax Increases
- Bring Budget Transparency
And the best part? Our advice is free.