Writing today in The Hill, Institute founder & president Jonathan Bydlak writes about ongoing tax reform efforts and presents a note of caution for fiscal conservatives not to have too narrow a focus.
But as Democrats and Republicans neatly swap positions on how much the deficit matters, both sides are at risk of missing the point. Debates over revenue offsets and dynamic assumptions are important, but the real culprit behind rising deficits and the $20 trillion national debt is runaway spending.
Yet, many in both parties still stubbornly ignore this issue, especially the items that drive the vast majority of spending — the nation’s massive (and massively unsustainable) mandatory programs. Out of a misguided but well-intentioned desire to avoid impacting current beneficiaries, both parties seem happy to skip along the path that will soon lead to dire consequences not only for beneficiaries but for the entire economy.
Fiscal responsibility, much like Ronald Reagan’s famous three-legged stool, cannot be achieved with too-narrow a focus.
Truly reforming our nation’s finances requires taking aim at a broken and outdated tax code, but it must also include steps toward reining in ever-growing liabilities and instituting process reforms that can make it possible for Congress to operate under regular order and within a real budget framework, not endless short-term measures and governing by crisis.
Read the full piece here.