February 14, 2016

Lawmakers urged to fix debt

A nonpartisan coalition urges lawmakers to address the country’s fiscal cliff and long-term debt.

“It’s time for elected officials to make the tough choices,” so says a former congressman from Wisconsin. Scott Klug says no other issue is as urgent or important to the welfare of our country as addressing the nation’s debt — both immediate and long-term. “I think Republicans and Democrats both agree that we have got to do something to get our debt under control.”

The Republican is a co-chair of the Campaign to Fix the Debt along with former Governor Tony Earl, a Wisconsin Democrat. The coalition is calling on lawmakers in Washington to put aside political differences for the good of the country.

Klug says lawmakers will also need to confront the rapidly approaching “fiscal cliff” — over $600 billion of spending cuts and tax hikes that could push the country back into a recession, and perhaps even end up like Greece. That country is now saying their debt is worse than thought.

“So we really don’t care what’s in the plan. We just want to make sure the arithmetic makes sense.”

Klug says interest payments alone will crush future economic growth. He says there’s a moral obligation to attack the issue, even if it means making a lot of unhappy people in the short term. “I’m actually reasonably optimistic there will be some kind of comprehensive plan on the table next spring. But I can guarantee you if there’s a comprehensive plan there’s gonna be a lot of unhappy people — I might even be one of them, but we’ve got to do something to get this done right.”

Lobbying efforts of the coalition aim to nudge lawmakers to aggressively address the growing problem. “I think nudge is too soft a word. I think we have to make the case that this is a crisis and that it’s their responsibility to solve it.”

The Campaign to Fix the Debt consists of business leaders, elected officials, community leaders, academics and individual citizens. The group officially launched a Wisconsin chapter to bring concerned individuals together and call lawmakers to address the ballooning national debt.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:47

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