Do we need a Debt Czar?

The Senate is currently trying to raise the statutory debt ceiling for the country. Our debt is projected to reach the limit next month. If we reach the limit, then the government will no longer be able to issue debt, which would mean we could no longer pay our bills.

The U.S. has been on an unsustainable fiscal course for some time. The recession and measures to combat it have exacerbated the situation.

As Congress and the White House seek to calm voters angry over the fiscal recklessness is Washington, as well as markets and creditors concerned about our ability to meet our financial obligations, they are considering several proposals to address a fiscal crisis that many see coming.

So, given the proclivity of this administration to appoint “czars” to address critical issues; do we need a Deficit Czar? My answer is “no,” considering that the numerous czars already in place have little to show in the way of success. Depending on who’s counting, we have between two and three dozen czars dealing with issues such as health care, climate, the economy, and the auto recovery. 

But something needs to be done to prompt action and show that we as a nation are serious about tackling the debt. A more promising idea is a commission to address the long-term fiscal challenges. Granted, commissions in Washington don’t have such a great track record either. Many well-intentioned panels with impressive membership have held hearings, deliberated in earnest, and issued thorough reports, only to see their proposals gather dust.

However, the fiscal commission proposal that the Senate will vote on Tuesday would be different. Under the legislation being considered, Congress would be required to vote up-or-down on the recommendations of a bipartisan fiscal task force.

Since our leaders in Washington have been reluctant to address the dilemma in a responsible way by making the difficult, yet necessary, decisions to get the country’s fiscal house in order. Perhaps a commission with some teeth could spur action.

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