U.S. Budget Watch is a historical project of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which provided analysis around the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. This site is not regularly updated.

Midlands Voices: Candidates Need To Talk About Debt | Omaha Opinion

 The writer is a former mayor of Omaha and former congressman from Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District. He currently serves as a member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.


Our national debt is the single biggest threat to the future economic security of Americans.

It is the one impediment to guaranteeing a healthy and prosperous future for generations to come.

Sadly, very few presidential candidates have been willing to acknowledge that fact.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be campaigning in Omaha later this month. My hope is that she comes armed with ideas to reduce our mounting debt.

Deficits have been declining in recent years, but as the nonpartisan Campaign to Fix the Debt points out, trillion-dollar deficits will return within the next decade.

Meanwhile, the debt as a share of the nation’s economy — 74 percent of the Gross Domestic Product — is projected to keep growing and will exceed the size of the economy by 2040.

There are no easy solutions.

But as someone who served as chairman on the Social Security Advisory Board, I know that we can’t keep ignoring the looming insolvency of Social Security.

If we don’t act, the combined trust funds will be depleted in the early 2030s, resulting in an immediate 20 percent to 30 percent across-the-board cut for all retirees. We can’t afford to let that happen.

As a former member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I also understand how important it is to enact pro-growth tax reform that lowers rates, eliminates special deductions and raises revenues to help pay down the debt.

These are some of the important issues that candidates should address on the campaign trail.

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