A new survey shows former top economic leaders from both parties agree on fiscal issues
While the anti-tax wing of the GOP is well represented on Obama's commission, a new survey from a deficit awareness group suggests that former top officials of both parties are remarkably united on what it will take to change the nation's long-term fiscal picture. A large majority of both Democrats and Republicans surveyed said that both "entitlement reform" and tax increases should be "seriously considered," even if not politically popular.
The survey, which the Peter G. Peterson Foundation released on the eve of its own fiscal summit in Washington, polled 58 former Treasury secretaries, former top officials from the Federal Reserve and the White House, and former committee leaders from Capitol Hill. They unanimously agreed that the federal government is on an unsustainable fiscal path and that long-term structural deficits pose a greater threat than short-term deficits. (The Fiscal Times, an independent business venture, is also funded by Peter Peterson, but is not affiliated with his foundation.)
Nearly all those surveyed said that the United States is heading for a "major economic crisis" unless action is taken. More than 90 percent from both parties said this would lead to higher interest rates, a decline in the dollar, a drop in U.S. standards of living, and a "crowding out" of spending on some government programs.
On the specifics of solutions, 88 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans said it would take both spending cuts and tax increases. Presented with a list of options, from statutory budget controls to tax code reform, most said all should be seriously considered. Cuts to defense spending were the least popular idea. But the partisan divide on defense was even: 56 percent in both parties said those cuts should be seriously considered, while 44 percent said they should not.
To read the full Debt Watch series, go here.
The Fiscal Times , an independent business venture, is funded by Peter Peterson, but is not affiliated with his foundation.