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Former Comptroller General gives Boehner advice
Monday - 11/15/2010, 11:06am EST
Digital News Writer
The new presumptive Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), is back at work as Congress convenes for its first lame-duck session today -- and Boehner is already receiving input on how to get the nation's finances back on track.
David Walker is the Former Comptroller General of the United States and has worked with both Republican and Democratic administrations. He is also the Founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative. Walker shared the details of a letter he wrote to Boehner with some very emphatic advise.
"We need to do what it takes to try to avoid a double-dip recession and get unemployment down," Walker told Federal News Radio about his concerns. "But we need to have a plan and to start implementing a plan to put our nation's finances in order. We can't afford a stalemate in the next two years...the clock is ticking and time is not working in our favor."
Walker laid out three main issues in his letter that he believes Boehner and the Congress should give their greatest attention to during the lame-duck session and over the next two years.
- Re-impose statutory budget controls -- "The current statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rule exempts trillions of dollars in spending increases and tax cuts over the next 10 years. These huge loopholes should be closed on a priority basis."
- Address Social Security -- Social security may not be our biggest problem, Walker said, but it is our "biggest opportunity." In his letter he writes: "Congress should enact legislation in 2011 that will make Social Security solvent, sustainable, secure and more savings oriented."
- Re-examine the structure of government -- "Congress should work with the President to enact an extraordinary process that will result in an independent review and re-examination of the current base of the federal government over a number of years. This undertaking must involve capable and credible individuals who do not have a real or perceived conflict of interest. It must also provide a significant degree of transparency and public engagement in order to be successful"
We need to implement a transformation task force to move government into the 21st century and...we need to have a debate with the American people about what is the appropriate role and size of government, what are we going to do to control health care cost and rationalize our promises, and how do we engage in comprehensive tax reform that makes the system simpler, fairer and generates enough revenue.
Walker also praised the president's Deficit Reform Commission calling their findings "comprehensive and credible."
"The key is not whether or not we have a balanced budget," Walker said. "The key is how much debt as a percentage of our economy do we have. We're already at over 60% and we're growing rapidly, and if you count the debt that we owe to social security and medicare we already owe over 90% and growing rapidly."