Three competing visions of deficit reduction are presented in this compilation: the report The Moment of Truth, Final Report of National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform; the April 13 speech by President Barack Obama on fiscal policy; and the House Republican Roadmap for America's Future, written by Congressman Paul Ryan, Ranking Member of the Committee on the Budget.
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The historic deficit commission report issued in December 2010 also contains the additional comments of members of the commission released in January 2011. Co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the panel produced an important set of recommendations for reducing the federal deficit. The panel writes: "As members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, we spent the past eight months studying the same cold, hard facts. Together, we have reached these unavoidable conclusions: The problem is real. The solution will be painful. There is no easy way out. Everything must be on the table. And Washington must lead. The President and the leaders of both parties in both chambers of Congress asked us to address the nation’s fiscal challenges in this decade and beyond. We have worked to offer an aggressive, fair, balanced, and bipartisan proposal – a proposal as serious as the problems we face. None of us likes every element of our plan, and each of us had to tolerate provisions we previously or presently oppose in order to reach a principled compromise. We were willing to put our differences aside to forge a plan because our nation will certainly be lost without one. We do not pretend to have all the answers. We offer our plan as the starting point for a serious national conversation in which every citizen has an interest and all should have a say." The panel's findings are serving as the basis for the ongoing debate in Washington over the nation's budget.
In his speech, President Obama said: "To meet our fiscal challenge, we will need to make reforms. We will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I’m President, we won’t.
So today, I’m proposing a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years. It’s an approach that borrows from the recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission that I appointed last year, and it builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget. It’s an approach that puts every kind of spending on the table – but one that protects the middle class, our promise to seniors, and our investments in the future."
The House Republican roadmap states: This proposal does not attempt to abandon commitments Americans established over the past century, or to dismantle government. It recognizes that government has a necessary role in supporting the institutions through which Americans live their lives, and in providing a safety net for those who face financial or other hardships. But it rests on the conviction that government’s principal role is to maintain the freedoms through which individuals can pursue their own destinies. As Jefferson put it: “A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
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