Washington — President Barack Obama’s new deficit commission might give Americans a slap in the face about the sacrifices needed to avoid bankrupting future generations — maybe working until age 70, paying higher taxes and spending more of their own money for doctors’ visits and prescriptions.
Obama certainly won’t be talking about that harsh medicine, nor will the lawmakers on Capitol Hill, nor the candidates trying to replace them next November.
In a poisonous election-year atmosphere, almost no one is willing to go on the record with solutions like raising the Social Security retirement age, ordering broad-based tax increases or increasing copays and deductibles for Medicare — ideas far too politically explosive for one party to take on alone.
That’s where Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform — created Thursday with fanfare — comes in. With the total federal debt next year expected to exceed $14 trillion — about $47,000 for every U.S. resident — the 18-member commission is charged with coming up with a plan by Dec. 1 to reduce the government’s annual deficits to 3 percent of the national economy by 2015.