Balancing the Budget Should be Job One

SUSIE GHARIB: As the nation gears up for primaries in Michigan and Arizona
tomorrow, tonight`s commentator says there`s something she`d really like to
see during this presidential race. She`s Maya MacGuineas, president of the
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

campaign season and with campaigns come lots of promises. Last week, we
released a report looking at how the Republican candidates campaign
proposals would affect the country`s bottom line and we have also analyzed
the president`s budget. Suffice it to say, we are on track for a whole lot
of red ink.

So here`s my proposal. Once we get to the general election, we
should have a debate focusing solely on fixing the budget. Each candidate
would be required to put forth a plan to save $5 trillion over a decade
with the full set of details. And it would give us, the voters, a chance to
see what it really takes to create a responsible budget. We`d see what it
takes if we don`t raise any taxes at all or cut them further as all the
Republicans have proposed; and we see how much it would take in tax
increases to cover all the new spending the president has proposed while
also bringing down the deficit. Better yet, we might see what a more
realistic proposal would look like. Maybe the candidates wouldn`t show up,
maybe they would try to use funny numbers. But maybe, just maybe it would
jumpstart the long overdue national discussion about what it will really
take to fix the budget.

I`m Maya Macguineas.

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