Momentum builds for attack on debt

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall

Closing tax loopholes and raising federal revenues are on the table. So are entitlement cuts and elimination of poorly performing federal programs.

The fact that Senators from both parties are talking about these issues may not be a sign that the apocalypse is near, but it is an indication a growing number of people in Washington believe, as we do, that we must act decisively to prevent a financial catastrophe.

On Monday, two leaders of the so-called Gang of Six — three Democratic and three Republican senators working on a plan to significantly reduce the annual federal deficit and our national debt — launched a campaign to win public support for that effort.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., met with lobbyists and business leaders, according to The Washington Post. Their message: This country will be “up the creek,” as Warner put it, unless we come together to overhaul entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare and revamp the tax code to eliminate cherished tax breaks for businesses and individuals alike.

Such tough medicine is needed to rein in the federal debt, which has grown to the point that it threatens the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, two other senators — Democrat Mark Udall of Colorado and Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah — have proposed another means to cut federal spending and reduce the debt.

On Tuesday, they introduced legislation to create a bipartisan committee to identify wasteful federal programs and target them for elimination. The two senators note that a similar program after World War II saved $38 billion over three years.

There are, of course, supporters for every federal program, no matter how inefficient, who will fight tooth and nail to prevent their favored form of federal largesse from ending up on the chopping block. Still, Udall and Hatch are on the right track in pushing for a means to eliminate such programs.

Their efforts, like those of the Gang of Six, are indications that responsible lawmakers of both parties can work together to seek solutions to the serious financial problems facing this country.

Here’s hoping momentum for such efforts continues to grow.


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