EDITORIAL: A call to stop the debt spiral

 IBJ Staff
November 20, 2010
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
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.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.