The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the group charged by President Obama with addressing the national debt, has released its final report, titled “The Moment of Truth.”
I haven’t had time to read the 65-page report, so I am relying on press reports. A real blogger would read the thing, and I’ll try to. My first impression is that at least they’re trying, but even their best efforts were only able to reduce the annual deficit to $279 billion by 2020. That used to be about average before we started running the $1 trillion-plus annual deficits we run now. It would mean that the cumulative national debt – the sum total of what we owe, would still increase by more than $4 trillion by 2020. It’s now nearing $14 trillion.
The good news: At least the commission talked about raising the retirement age, though VERY slowly – to 68 by 2050. Even better, it talked about creating a budget for federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Currently the government just keeps spending as long as doctors and hospitals keep billing.
It’s a start. Now we’ll see if lawmakers and President Obama keep the ball rolling or simply kick the can down the road as others have done.