EDITORIAL: A call to stop the debt spiral

 IBJ Staff
November 20, 2010
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IBJ Editorial

President Obama’s fiscal commission is doing its job by recommending tough taxing and expense-slashing measures meant to attack our nation’s debt crisis. Indiana’s congressional delegation should keep the momentum going.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, tasked with finding ways to improve the debt situation in the medium term and achieve fiscal sustainability in the long run, issued a preliminary report earlier this month that promptly drew heated attacks from both the right and the left.

Co-Chairmen Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Erskine Bowles, chief of staff to President Clinton, propose slashing the runaway federal deficit nearly $4 trillion by 2020. About three-quarters of the achievement would come through spending cuts and the balance by raising taxes or closing loopholes.

The full commission is expected to emerge with a compromise within weeks, and leaders from both parties in the House and Senate have said they will vote the proposal up or down if at least 14 of the 18 commission members support it.

It goes without saying this problem should have been nipped in the bud years ago. Congress could have tackled the problem by forming its own commission, as it has in the past to close military bases, with an agreement ahead of time that the resulting recommendations would receive an up or down vote.

But even a small advancement like the Obama commission’s initial report is welcome.

The very strength of Simpson’s and Bowles’ collective opinion is their willingness to gore just about everyone’s ox. This breath of fresh air is an opportunity for Indiana Sens. Richard Lugar and Dan Coats to push a cause they’ve long championed. It’s also a chance for U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, a Republican who is widely expected to run for governor and possibly president, to show he can lead by persuading his caucus to accept some tax increases if they are coupled with overall reductions in income tax rates.

Last week, Indiana University historian James Madison told IBJ he’s only “marginally” optimistic the American character is still sufficient to tackle an outsize crisis. Americans, he said, made wrenching decisions about the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II, but it remains to be seen whether we’re capable of making the tough choices necessary to stop borrowing our way into oblivion.

That’s a sobering assessment coming from one of the state’s foremost historians. Lawmakers should rise to the occasion and do the right thing.

Let’s hope our representatives make us proud. The problem, and the solution, will only get worse if they don’t.•


To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?