The Washington Post editorial board: Congress Isn’t Serious About Debt

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Tuesday’s Washington Post editorial called on Congress to finally get serious about “the debt crisis.” We couldn’t agree more.

The editorial hammered both parties and President Obama in particular, for failing to address the long-term spending problems facing America. From the editorial:

Medicare and Social Security remain on track to crowd out other spending, slow economic growth and leave the government paying more in interest costs — 5 percent of GDP by 2038, compared with an average of 2 percent over the past 40 years. Just to keep pace, the government would have to tax more and more, or cut more and more, or both. The longer policymakers wait to address these issues, the harder it will be, not least because the interest will keep piling up.

And from the closing:

“The unsustainable nature of the federal government’s current tax and spending policies presents lawmakers and the public with difficult choices,” the CBO concludes. Mr. Obama ran for president promising to make such difficult choices. Lawmakers such as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have made similar boasts.

Instead they are facing the unthinkable prospect of shutting down the government as they squabble over the inconsequential accomplishment of a 10-week funding extension. It isn’t serious, but it certainly isn’t funny.

As Congress moves into the 2014 fiscal year, the Post’s editorial should be the guiding light for debates over controlling spending. Social Security, Medicare, and other mandatory spending are the major factors in America’s long-term debt problem – as well as interest payments on the debt – and the longer changes to those programs are not made, the worse things will be for all Americans.