Do We Need a Debt Commission?

October 2009
The Associated Press today leads with the question: "What is $1.42 trillion?" The AP's answer: It is more than the total national debt for the first 200 years of the United States, more than the entire economy of India, and more than $4,700 for every man, woman, and child in the United States. The 2009 federal deficit is the highest since the end of World War II, and investors are essentially financing the debt, including China, among other foreign interests, which are eager to see signs that the government will eventually rein in budgets at a time when Americans are split over how to handle the situation (via The New York Times). On one hand, we want all the help we can get, as the jobs market continues to look shaky. On the other hand, we're wary of how much we'll have to pay the government for new programs, such as health-care reform. The concerns are highlighted as 10 U.S. senators, including Colorado's Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, want the government to form an independent commission that will find ways to control the federal debt. The senators signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking that a debt commission be part of legislation that would allow the Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress to raise the national debt limit for the eighth time since 2001, according to the Denver Business Journal. It remains to be seen if Udall and Bennet, both Democrats, will vote to raise the debt limit.