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OUR OPINION: Address federal deficits, debt before it's too late

OUR OPINION: Address federal deficits, debt before it's too late

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Lurking in the shadows of America's healthy economy is a sickness our leaders ignore at the nation's peril.

The sickness? Federal budget deficits and growing federal debt.

Last week, the U.S. Treasury said the deficit for fiscal 2019 was $984 billion, a 26 percent increase from the year before. It's the widest gap between revenue and spending in seven years. The Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit for this fiscal year will rise above $1 trillion. Today, federal debt stands at more than $22 trillion.

One need not be a financial genius to understand our country can't go on like this forever, but we hear no one within the Trump administration, within Congress or within the field of Democratic candidates for president talking about our country's ocean of red ink.

The responsible position of identifying and implementing solutions to the challenges of deficits and debt - reduced spending, increased taxes, and reform of entitlements - will be difficult and painful, but the irresponsible alternative of burying heads in the sand and doing nothing is worse. Eventually, debt will crush our country.

Again today, we commend those lonely voices committed to speaking stark truth about America's debt crisis, like the Concord Coalition. Formed in 1992 by the late Sen. Paul Tsongas, D-Mass., the late Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H., and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson, the Concord Coalition is dedicated to responsible fiscal policies in Washington.

"Putting the budget on a sustainable path will require more than quick-fix solutions such as cutting 'waste, fraud and abuse' or 'taxing the rich.' It will require attention to broader systemic issues ... The debt is a problem. It is not going away on its own. Policymakers and the public should face up to this responsibility," Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, said earlier this year.

That quote strikes all the right notes.

We encourage Bixby and similarly like-minded, reasoned advocates for fiscal sanity in Washington, D.C., to continue fighting this good fight, frustrating as the work must be.

As a nation, we must begin taking medicine for the sickness of federal deficits and debt today. If we wait much longer, it will be too late to find a cure.

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