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Mark Warner: 2011 Is “Put Up or Shut Up Time” for Tackling Deficit

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I agree with much of what Mark Warner’s saying here. Yes, we needed more “stimulus” in the short run, due to the still-wobbly economic recovery. Yes, we did add hundreds of billions more dollars to the national debt by extending the Bush tax cuts another two years. Yes, we absolutely do need to deal with our nation’s long-term, structural deficit. Yes, our country should have a simpler, fairer, broader tax code, also a more progressive one. Yes, 2011 is the time to work on this, before the 2012 presidential year kicks in and makes it essentially impossible. And yes, the president’s budget commission offers some interesting ideas/possible starting points for tackling the deficit.

The question is, will any of this happen, or will the new Teapublican majority in House of Representatives – not to mention the expanded Jim DeMint caucus in the Senate – make reasonable compromise completely impossible? I’m betting on the latter, but hoping that Mark Warner et al. can figure out a way to prove me wrong. We’ll see.

  • If we’re to fix the economy, reform the tax code and deal with long-term budget deficits, we’ll need creative and bold ideas.  But after Warner’s idiotic “for every new regulation we need to remove an old one,” I doubt he will be the source of those ideas.

  • Hopefully, Warner will realize that Republicans aren’t interested in the deficit — not if it means increasing revenue (ie, raising taxes.)  And unfortunately, Democrats aren’t interested in the idea much either.

    At this moment in time, I still believe that stimulus is the best approach to stabilizing the economy, but I think it would be VERY helpful if we had some intelligent, long-view people in the government looking down the road a few years and thinking about the deficit.  Not in a show-boat “Commission” kind of way, but just in a serious, thoughtful, behind the scenes kind of way.

    If Warner would like to take that on, I would be very pleased.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    The commission report, to me at least, simply provided a blueprint of one way to achieve deficit reduction. At least the commission looked at both the revenue and the spending sides of the equation. Unfortunately, the GOP only wants to look at the spending side, while a small number of liberals  in Congress only want to look at revenue.

    It remains to be seen whether the American people will hold those who refuse to compromise and confront the deficit responsible at the ballot box. They certainly didn’t hold the correct people responsible last November.

    Mark Warner is making a brilliant political move – as well as a necessary one – with his preemptive strike as the “deficit hawk.” I fully expect to see President Obama make control of the deficit one of the main points in his State of the Union message to Congress. What happens on this issue will show me whether the United States is able to be governed right now, or if we are too spoiled to make hard decisions necessary to put our fiscal house in order.

  • Steve Vaughan

    anybody lose an election because the deficit was too high. It’s not that the deficit isn’t important. It is. But getting the economy moving again is more important. There’s a time to worry about how much your water bill is costing you, but not while your house is on fire.