Your Challenge: An Exercise in Debt Reduction

Anyone who’s responsible for juggling a personal or household budget knows the pitfalls of taking on too much debt. Unfortunately, the federal government has found itself in a situation where our national debt is growing out of control. Public policymakers have indicated that we have much work to do if we want to stabilize the debt at 60 percent of the gross domestic product by 2018.

I’ve discovered an interesting online resource called “Stabilize the Debt: an Online Exercise in Hard Choices,” which is offered by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a bipartisan, nonprofit organization committed to educating the public about issues that have significant fiscal policy impact. (Here’s the link: http://crfb.org/stabilizethedebt ) The “Stabilize the Debt” simulator was designed to demonstrate how budget choices affect debt held by the public in the medium- and long-term. It illustrates the tough choices that will have to be made to achieve a goal of stabilizing the debt at 60 percent of GDP by 2018. This goal is a recommendation of the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform in its report, Red Ink Rising. The CRFB, which runs the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, receives significant funding from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

I was recently asked to complete the exercise in making hard choices. The budget simulator walks you through different budget options for reducing the debt that include increasing revenues and/or decreasing government spending. The objective of the exercise is to make choices that stabilize the debt at 60 percent of GDP by 2018.

Try it. See what hard choices are on the horizon for public policymakers. It won’t be easy, but it is something we must undertake as a nation.

Written by Betsy Ryan at 20:42

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