New York (CNNMoney.com) - Policymakers must put in place a credible plan to bring federal spending in line with revenue sooner rather than later to close the "unsustainable fiscal gap" that threatens the economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday.
Bernanke delivered his message to President Obama's 18-member bipartisan debt commission, which is holding its first of many meetings that will take place over seven months.
"The path forward contains many difficult tradeoffs and choices, but postponing those choices and failing to put the nation's finances on a sustainable long-run trajectory would ultimately do great damage to our economy," Bernanke said.
Obama echoed that sentiment in comments made at the White House before the meeting began. The present fiscal situation, he noted, "will require that we put politics aside - that we think more about the next generation than the next election. There is no other way."