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November 18, 2015

New Paper Urges Presidential Candidates to Focus on Debt and Fiscally Responsible Proposals

Dealing with the federal debt should be a top priority for the 2016 presidential candidates, according to a new paper by Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, and Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
“The next president will face an array of pressing issues; everything from income inequality to crumbling infrastructure, terrorism, retirement security, tax reform and health care costs,” they write. “One issue, however, transcends them all: the unsustainable projected growth of the federal debt. No candidate’s vision of the future, regardless of party or ideology, will be credible if it rests on the premise of unsustainable debt.”
The paper, “Why the federal debt must be a top priority for the 2016 presidential candidates,” was released in conjunction with a program today at the Brookings Institution entitled “Campaign 2016: Will promises be kept?” Bixby was also scheduled as one of the program’s panelists.
Although the federal deficit has dropped in recent years as the economy recovered from recession, MacGuineas and Bixby say it would be a mistake for candidates to conclude that our fiscal problems are behind us:
“Deficits are projected to begin rising again as the next president prepares his or her first budget. Over the coming decade, the debt is on track to grow by more than $7 trillion and resume a long-term path that is unsustainable.” Interest on the debt is projected to become the fastest-growing part of the budget.
“Presidential candidates should craft their campaign promises with a realistic appreciation for the magnitude of the debt problem, its root causes, and the consequences of doing nothing,” the new paper says. “If they believe that it is premature to set out detailed deficit reduction proposals during the campaign, they should at least be careful not to box themselves in with pledges of what they will not do; pledges that would make it impossible to actually solve the problem.”
Bixby and MacGuineas also emphasize the need for voters and the media to carefully scrutinize the candidates' fiscal proposals.
Their paper is available here on the Brookings Institution website.
Focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire, Concord and the Committee for a Responsible Budget’s Campaign to Fix the Debt are pursuing a joint, non-partisan initiative called First Budget to help educate the public on the nation’s fiscal challenges and to encourage the presidential candidates to address them.

Media Contact: Steve Winn

The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility. Since 1992, Concord has worked to educate the public about the causes and consequences of the federal deficit and debt, and to develop realistic solutions for sustainable budgets. For more fiscal news and analysis, visit concordcoalition.org and follow us on Twitter: @ConcordC