A. Fiscal discipline now – political pressure will lead to debt compromise
Washington Post 7/18
Washington Post 7/18/12, http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2012/jul/18/coalition-aims-to-head-off-debt-disaster/
WASHINGTON — A coalition of business leaders, budget experts and former politicians launched a $25 million campaign yesterday to build political support for afar-reaching plan to raise taxes, cut popular retirement programs and tame thenational debt. With anxiety rising over a major budget mess looming in January, the campaign — dubbed "Fix the Debt" — is founded on the notion that the moment is finally at hand when policymakers will be forced to compromise on an ambitious debt-reduction strategy. After nearly three years of bipartisan negotiations, the broad outlines of that strategy are clear, the group's leaders said during a news conference at the National Press Club: Raise more money through a simplified tax code and spend less on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the primary drivers of future borrowing. "Everyone knows in their hearts and their minds what has to be done," said Democratic former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who is chairing the group with former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican. The goal of the campaign is to "create a safe environment where it's not only good policy, but good politics as well." The campaign was founded by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming. The two men led an independent fiscal commission that in 2010 produced a $4 trillion debt-reduction framework that has won praise from politicians across the political spectrum. But the Bowles-Simpson plan never won the explicit backing of President Barack Obama or GOP leaders and therefore never gained real traction in Congress. The campaign plans to launch a social media drive to persuade lawmakers to approve a plan similar to the Bowles-Simpson framework by July 4, 2013 — replacing $600 billion in abrupt tax hikes and sharp spending cuts that are otherwise set to take effect in January.