January 25th, 2010
05:32 PM ET
13 years ago

Blue-ribbon panel to develop anti-deficit advice


Former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, who is helping to lead the Debt Reduction Task Force, part of a group called the Bipartisan Policy Center. (Photo Credit: Paul Courson/CNN)

Washington (CNN) - A citizen task force made up of fiscal and political heavyweights hopes to come up with a bipartisan deficit-reduction strategy that Congress and the White House may use in crafting the federal budget.

"We're in this because America has probably the worst economic future that we've ever had," declared former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, who is helping to lead the Debt Reduction Task Force, part of a group called the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Domenici was chairman of the powerful Senate Budget Committee before his retirement. He was joined at a news conference Monday by Alice Rivlin, a Democrat who has been a director of the Congressional Budget Office and a vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, among other positions.

Both acknowledged talk of cost-cutting budget panels from both the White House and Congress. Rivlin said her group intends to come up with a complete budget and a strategy that could be used as a guide to cutting the deficit.

At risk from failing to act, Domenici told reporters, is the fact China owns about half the loans the United States has needed to finance its overspending. It's not the same situation as in World War II, when Americans bought war bonds to help finance the fight.

The current deficit, he said, cannot be covered by raising taxes alone since "the United States, through its leaders, have made a big mistake - to give our people more than we can afford to pay for."

Rivlin, who will co-chair the task force with Domenici, said, "We're hoping to point out that the crisis is sufficiently imminent, so that we have to move ahead. And we think that is likely to be persuasive."

The panel intends to provide a draft budget and a deficit-reduction strategy by the end of the year, "but after the elections" in November, Rivlin noted.

Among the other economic experts on the panel are former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez; Leonard Burman, a former deputy assistant treasury secretary; and Joe Minarik, former chief economist for the House Budget Committee.

Filed under: national debt
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. File under "Sarcasm"

    Just what we need, a group of blow-hard politicians with no power other than their own hot air thinking up solutions they can't implement.

    Deficit reduction is simple. Raise taxes or cut spending. The former will destroy our weak economy and the latter will destroy the liberal entitlement agenda.

    January 25, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Rickster

    They are bringing in "fiscal and political heavyweights" because this administration is made up of fiscal and political lightweights.

    January 25, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. Don in Kansas

    This is all well and good and hopefully, it will make a difference. However, it does pose the question of just where were Domenici and Rivlin when they had the power to do something about it?

    January 25, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Fnord-a-saurus Rex

    How about we end all these silly wars. Those cost alot right?
    In fact, aren't these wars the largest cost in our budget?
    But I'm sure that option is off the table since a Republican has anything to do with tis committee.

    January 25, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    The current deficit, he said, cannot be covered by raising taxes alone since "the United States, through its leaders, have made a big mistake – to give our people more than we can afford to pay for."
    Yeah, if by 'our people' you mean the unions, auto manufacturers, Wall Street financial companies, Fanny May and Freddy Mac, bankers, etc.

    January 25, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. John W. Olver

    Maybe congress and the President should have to raise taxes when they want to go to war. That would have saved us a trillion dollars in debt over the last decade. Maybe we shouldn't be giving hundreds of billions of dollars to brokerage houses to cover their bad bets. There's another half a trillion. But we all know who's going to foot the bill when this panel's recommendations come out. Cut services, cut education, cut healthcare,and above all, cut taxes for corporations and the rich. This country is governed by the rich for the rich. The class war is over and the middle class lost.

    January 25, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. Evan

    Yes, always "after the elections in November." Because we wouldn't want to be able to hold anyone accountable. I'm sure the unemployed workers out there will be happy to take a vacation until then. How hard can the solution be?

    January 25, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. obama the liar

    another day, another lie from the supreme liar-in-chief.

    January 25, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Americans do not understand the deficit. IT DID NOT START WITH OBAMA....... BUSH RAN A DEFICIT HIS WHOLE 8 YEARS IN OFFICE!

    January 25, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. Stop the Nonsense

    Did I read this right? Bi-partisan? It's about time!
    In the past you would find bi-partisan cooperation but todays Congress is more interesrted in bashing each other that every vote is by straight party lines.
    Maybe something good will come of this and it will teach the hard-eads in there now how to work togther.

    January 25, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. MR RIGHT

    There I just saved the big bucks,which would have been wasted on useless congresspeople. Vote them all out and lets put some real people in office who can ignore the special interests and focus on the obvious issues.

    January 25, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Scott Alexander

    Strange how when Georgie Bush was in office, Republican never bothered to do anything about the deficit or the economy. Now that there's a Democrat in charge (well maybe not in charge...just a figure head really until he does something meaningful), the GOP finally cares about America.

    Or at least their version of America. Watch out, I'm sure the poor are going to be highly affected in a negative way if the "Blue-ribbon" panel has their way.

    January 25, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. JS007

    Where were these guys over the last 8 years? I'm so sick and tired of Republicans empoverishing the country while they are in office and then getting a sudden urge to balance the books when a Democrat is elected.

    January 25, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. Barbara Independent in NY

    What a crock!! We all know the Republican plan to reduce the deficit–cut taxes for the wealthy and the big corporations.

    January 25, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. guy from NM

    Being from NM ,where Domenici is from, I would not trust this guy one bit. (Always been in the pocket of oil industries). And if this future is so dire he had a hand in it, why would we have another one of the recycled crooks, telling us what we should do to better that future? I have another idea for reducing the deficit, cut the bloated Pentagon budget in half, get out of the useless wars abroad, shut down the bases we have no need for.

    January 25, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. J.harrigan

    More blather from former politicians. When they held office they didn't balance the budget. Now we are to believe and trust what they recommend?

    January 25, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. DAVID

    here comes the democrats idea of americans using there 401k's to buy U.S. Treasury Bonds to help out in the fight to reduce our deficit.... anyone who does this should have there heads examined......

    January 25, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. Alex Hogan

    We could cut spending on rural entitlements or war if your really concerned about progressive causes. Why don't we just implement a value added tax and legalize pot? Seems if we already tax guns, over the counter drugs, cigarettes, alcohol and emissions we should be taking a fairly uncontroversial move to allow us to be any more brainless...or healthy. I guess the problem would be with people growing their own headache and pain medicine...but unquestionable infusion (recognition) of 1billion into our economy.

    January 25, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. Pub17

    Huh? What?
    Dick Cheney said that deficits don't matter.

    January 25, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  20. Jim

    Domenici helped get this country into this mess. I doubt he can get us out.

    January 25, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. Tristan

    We don't need a panel. Our biggest expenditure is the pentagon. Cut their budget 10% per year until the budget is balanced and the deficit paid in full.

    January 25, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Deep in debt – wow – it is like someone was sitting in Washington just throwing trillions of dollars out the window. Oh wait, there is.....
    Family meeting: I know we are in debt and we are about to lose the house and have no food. The plan? Let's buy some more stuff!

    January 25, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  23. Big Joe

    Somebody needs mto tell this administration to slow down the spending. Talking about fiscal responsibility but then ignoring it in actions isn't going to reduce the deficit.

    Obama has quadrupled the national deficit but Democrats don't want to talk about that.

    January 25, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  24. Big Joe

    Oh, and maybe if Democrats actually paid their taxes, the situation might not be as bad as it is.

    January 25, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. USN

    Does anyone notice that when the rich make money, we all make money , and we all pay more taxes so the gov gets more money !

    January 25, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
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