First Anniversary of the Fiscal Commission's Final Report, The Moment of Truth

Dec 1, 2011 | Budgets & Projections

Today marks the first anniversary of the release of The Moment of Truth, the final report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, better known as the Fiscal Commission. The report's recommendations covered all areas of the budget -- including entitlements, defense, the tax code, and Social Security -- with a total of $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years. While it didn't receive the necessary supermajority to bring the plan to a vote, it did get approval by a bipartisan majority of Commission members: five Democrats, five Republicans, and one Independent.

To honor the anniversary of the report's release, co-chair Erskine Bowles, co-chair Alan Simpson, Alice Rivlin, Dave Cote, Andy Stern, Ann Fudge, former Sen. Judd Gregg and former Rep. John Spratt released a statement urging Congress to stop delaying action on implementation of a comprehensive fiscal plan. They continued:

We can no longer wait. The inability of the Select Committee to find common ground on deficit reduction of only $1.2 trillion over ten years underscores that a piece-meal approach to our deficit crisis will not work. Big problems require big solutions, and our national debt crisis is a very big problem. It is time for political leaders in both parties to pull together not apart, and make the tough decisions necessary to bring our debt under control and put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course.

The plan laid out in The Moment of Truth is not perfect, nor do any of us agree with every provision included in the report. But it remains the best framework for an overall balanced plan. And as the growing calls from members of both parties to revive the Fiscal Commission’s proposal underscore, it offers the best hope for moving forward in a broad, bipartisan manner.

Calls from lawmakers for a plan along the lines of the Fiscal Commission's report are indeed encouraging, as it represents a bipartisan, comprehensive solution to our mounting debt that would significantly improve our nation's fiscal outlook. If the Fiscal Commission's recommendations had been adopted at the time of their release, our fiscal situation would be a lot more stable and our future would be a lot more promising.

Regardless of how many votes the final report received,  there's no doubt that it has done an amazing job in moving the fiscal debate forward. It continues to be referred to as the most credible bipartisan fiscal plan by people and organizations of both political parties. It's not perfect, but it is the product of a group of people who put political differences aside in order to reach a compromise for the sake of the country. We could certainly stand to see more of that in Washington these days. As the statement from the Fiscal Commission members above concludes, "It’s time to act, be bold, be smart, and go big."

(Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)