Excellent explanation of the credit mess and a fiscal responsibility call to the Presidential candidates

Paul Solman of PBS gave an excellent explanation of the basics of the credit crisis tonight on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Highly recommended to get the basics down cold.

Along these same lines, as we consider a $700 billion taxpayer package to bail out the financial industry, I invite you to consider signing a letter to the Presidential candidates, penned by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation (Peterson being a founder of The Concord Coalition) calling for, in sum, two major changes in fiscal governance once the Bush administration comes to an end: “First, to engage Americans in an open and honest discussion about our $53 trillion financial hole and make addressing it a top priority if elected. Second, to create during their first year in office a bipartisan ‘fiscal responsibility commission’ to recommend meaningful reforms to the government’s budget processes and entitlement, health care, and tax systems – recommendations that are guaranteed to receive an up-or-down vote by the Congress, as is done with military base closings. Everything must be on the table.”

When I think about the massive pile of debt that we are giving to our children and grandchildren, which will severely curtail their ability to make meaningful choices about their priorities (not to mention the burden of having to pay it back), the callous irresponsibility of our behavior as a nation gets me pretty angry. While I am not a fan of more commissions, studies, etc., my own experience with advocating deficit reduction is that this may be the only way to get meaningful discussion going. So, for the future of this nation (read: our children and grandchildren), please consider signing this wonderfully drafted and clearly argued letter. It is not an understatement to say that nothing less than generational responsibility requires that our new President implement these two goals, at a minimum.