The three wise men of fiscal responsibility?

Three men – if wise enough – can reduce the federal budget deficit down to sustainable levels: President Obama, Congressman Paul Ryan, and Senator Kent Conrad.

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How wise do our political and economic leaders have to be to know that the current levels of deficit spending are unsustainable?

My boss, Bob Bixby, offers this perspective on how to achieve bipartisan compromise that would reduce the federal budget deficit down to sustainable levels. We need strong leadership from “three [at least potentially] wise men.” From Bob’s CNBC op-ed:

If [President] Obama and [incoming House Budget Committee chairman Paul] Ryan join [Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent] Conrad’s call for a summit to negotiate a joint budget plan—building on the solid groundwork of the two commissions—they may be able to achieve a game-changing breakthrough. That assumes, however, that they want the game to change and that they could get other party leaders and partisan guardians and to go along with the idea.

The commissions showed that people of differing perspectives can reach consensus if they enter into the process with a determination to reach an agreement for the common good. Moreover, the public is willing to accept the necessary sacrifices to build a better future if they understand the magnitude of the problem and the realistic trade-offs among the options.

The missing element is political leadership. Obama, Ryan and Conrad can fill the void.

Happy Holidays! I’m not sure how often you will hear from me over the rest of “this year” on fiscal policy issues, other than my passing along other people’s wise words.

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