US presidential hopefuls ‘must get serious’ about fiscal plans

4 Sep 12
The two candidates for this year’s US presidential election need to more specific about how they plan to address the fiscal challenges facing the country, according to the former US comptroller general.

By Nick Mann | 4 September 2012

The two candidates for this year’s US presidential election need to more specific about how they plan to address the fiscal challenges facing the country, according to the former US comptroller general.

Writing for PF International, David M Walker called on the current president, Democrat Barack Obama, and the Republican candidate for the presidency, Mitt Romney, to ‘get serious’ about fiscal issues and provide more detail on their plans to cut spending and raise revenue.

The US faces the challenge of a ‘fiscal cliff’ – a package of harsh spending cuts and tax rises that will kick in automatically next January unless political agreement is reached on future spending plans. Last week economists in the Congressional Budget Office warned this could send the country into recession.

The US also faces the prospect of ‘large and growing’ structural deficits in the years ahead, warned Walker, who is now founder and chief executive of the Comeback America initiative.

‘Therefore, it’s time for the candidates to get serious about fiscal issues and be much more specific regarding their proposed plans of action,’ he said.

‘The election is only two months away, but neither Obama nor Romney has provided adequate information regarding their proposed spending reductions and tax actions. Both have mentioned reducing federal spending, but neither candidate has a specific plan about how these spending cuts would be achieved.‘

Romney has advocated spending cuts but has yet to detail where these would be made and what their impact would be. He has also vowed to boost the already gigantic defence budget, Walker noted.

Obama is aiming to increase tax revenue based on the current ‘complex, outdated and uncompetitive’ tax system, rather reforming how taxes are collected, Walker said. Aiming for tax fairness should not just focus on the wealthiest paying their ‘fair share’, he added.

To reduce the US budget deficit, he advocated spending cuts and raising additional revenue through comprehensive tax reform.

‘In my view, there should be at least a 3-1 ratio of spending reductions to revenue increases over time,’ Walker wrote. ‘However, when and how best to achieve the needed reforms raises important economic, moral and political questions.’ 

You can read David M Walker's thoughts in full .


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