Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, U.S. Congressman Jimmy Panetta Briefed the Commission
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – On August 25th, the nonpartisan Millennial Debt Commission convened for the second time to specifically hear Democratic perspectives on the debt and deficit. The meeting featured briefings from Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and U.S. Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), as well as Jonathan Bydlack, the interim director of governance at R Street.
In his opening remarks, Sen. Daschle said, “[The national debt] poses an increasingly grave threat to our national economic health, but [also] to our very survival as a democratic republic in the long-term.”
“Compromise is the oxygen of democracy. And in today’s world that means two things. First, everything has to be on the table – both cuts in spending and increases in revenue are absolutely essential. That means reducing entitlement spending and, yes, it means increasing taxing. And secondly, to reach compromise you have to be willing, and this is tough, you have to be wiling to challenge your most hardcore supporters,” continued Daschle after citing exhausting Oval Office negotiations that led to four consecutive balanced budgets in the late 1990s.
When asked about the rising interest in Modern Monetary Theory as an excuse for federal borrowing, Sen. Daschle told the commission, “I’m one who feels you’ve got to give people opportunities to explore theories and approaches and philosophies. That’s good, that’s what democracy is about. But I think we’re going to come back to traditionalism when it comes to fiscal and monetary policy. We have to.”
“We can’t afford theories that, in my view, just don’t really in the long term make a compelling argument. And this is a good example of it. I’m surprised frankly that some well thought of economists are at least willing to, if not embrace it, give it some legitimacy, but I’m still in the old school and I think as a country we’ve got to go back there someday."
Congressman Panetta expressed support for the Millennial Debt Foundation and the mission of the commission: “Although Congress currently is intent on providing the support and stimulus to get us through this pandemic, we cannot ignore our fiscal responsibility to our future. That is why there are Democrats and Republicans who are working to get our fiscal house in order once our economy has recovered. I'm grateful to the Millennial Debt Commission for highlighting our work and spreading the word and the reasons for responsible budgeting and long-term fiscal responsibility.”
Millennial Debt Foundation Founder Weston Wamp added, “The fiscal challenges that face the country are bigger than either political party can address alone. It is unfortunate that neither party has taken good faith steps towards deficit reduction in nearly a decade, but found common ground in carrying out an unprecedented deficit spending experiment. MDF and the Millennial Debt Commission are committed to a bipartisan approach while working towards a generational framework for deficit reduction.”
About the Millennial Debt Foundation
The Millennial Debt Foundation was created in mid-2019 to lead a generational conversation about fiscal stewardship, the role of the federal government and America’s deficit spending crisis. Inspired by the work of its early supporter, former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., the foundation’s first major project is the Millennial Debt Commission. The commission is made up of 16 millennial business leaders from across the country working toward a framework for long-term deficit reduction. The Millennial Debt Foundation is a Tennessee-based 501(c)(3) funded by private donors and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.