Notice

The Peterson-Pew Budget Commission met from 2009 to 2011 to make recommendations about how to improve the nation’s fiscal future. This site is historical and not regularly updated.

Papers and Publications

Dec 28, 2009
Star-Telegram | Dec. 28, 2009   Here in Texas, we have a saying: When you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is to quit digging. As I learned from my 26 years in the House of Representatives, that’s not always easy advice to follow. Members of Congress like to deliver projects and programs back to their districts. And for a while, we were all told that deficits didn’t matter. As we’ve learned, they do matter. We may have not been able to avoid deficits in the past...
Dec 27, 2009
iStock Analyst | Dec. 27, 2009   We all know about the current fragile state of the economy. What is quickly becoming evident is that our nation's longer-term fiscal picture is even more precarious because of mounting government debt and the unwillingness of our elected leaders to address it. I've seen the results of economic crises first-hand and they are not pretty. I was the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico during the 1994 Mexican peso crisis. Mexicans' standards of living were cut in half...
Dec 21, 2009
Forbes | Dec. 21, 2009   Last week Bruce Bartlett devoted his Forbes column to criticizing plans for a budget commission to make recommendations on how to deal with the country's fiscal imbalances. This is the approach the White House and Congress seem poised to pursue to come up with the specific policies to put the nation's budget back on a sustainable path. In making his case, Bartlett chose to take a number of swipes at our new report, Red Ink Rising, which calls for policymakers to...
Dec 18, 2009
The Hill | Dec. 18, 2009   At the same time he is weighing further economic stimulus plans, the President is also arguing for getting deficits under control. There is no question that the United States is on an unsustainable fiscal path. The large and growing federal debt looms over every legislative decision before Congress. This will be the case for years to come as our policymakers struggle to fund economic stimulus packages now or health care and the retirement costs of our aging...
Dec 16, 2009
New York Daily News | Dec. 16, 2009   For years, Americans have been conditioned to worry about federal deficits. Congress and the President, we've been told, should strive to balance the federal budget every year. When annual deficits got big, there was hand-wringing. When Bill Clinton left office with a federal surplus, there was celebration. But by worrying only about annual red ink, policymakers have ignored a far larger problem - the now-looming federal debt that is growing by...
Dec 14, 2009
In Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt, The Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform calls on policy makers to stabilize the national debt through a six-step plan. Crafted over the past year by former heads of the CBO, OMB, GAO, and the congressional budget committees, the plan reflects a bipartisan approach to avoiding the tremendous global risks of America's expanding debt, without destabilizing the economic recovery. Red Ink Rising is the first of two major...
Dec 14, 2009
On December 14, the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform hosted a public event , moderated by David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal, to announce the release of its report, Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt.  The six panelists included a distinguished group of fiscal experts, including among their many titles, former chairmen and ranking members of the House Budget Committee (Bill Frenzel, Jim Nussle, and Jim Jones) and two former CBO directors (Alice...
Dec 14, 2009
In Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt, The Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform calls on policy makers to stabilize debt held by the public at 60 percent of GDP. Given our current fiscal path, reaching this debt goal will not be easy. While the Peterson-Pew Commission does not endorse specific tax and spending policies to meet this goal, Budget Blueprint: Paths to 60% aims to demonstrate the types and magnitude of necessary policy changes.
Dec 14, 2009
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Dec. 14, 2009   In 1993, during my last term in the House of Representatives, Rep. John Kasich, R-Ohio, and I tried to convince Congress to pass our plan to cut $90 billion from the federal budget over five years. President Clinton lobbied furiously against us and we lost by six votes. Back then, the federal deficit was under $300 billion. It would take another four years before members of Congress and the administration could sit down and hammer out a...
Dec 14, 2009
Sphere | Dec. 14, 2009   While many U.S. households are struggling with their own personal debt, citizens face an even larger – although less visible – threat from the mounting U.S. government debt. True, they don't receive a monthly mortgage statement or credit card bill for their share, but the effects will slowly chip away at the American standard of living – or even lead to the next major economic crisis. In just one year, the U.S. public debt rose from 41...