Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
2016 Campaign

Chicago Tribune Praises First Budget for Forcing Candidates to Confront the Debt

Aug 4, 2015 | Budgets & Projections

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board recently highlighted First Budget -- an initiative co-sponsored by the Campaign to Fix the Debt and the Concord Coalition -- in a piece titled "The Next President's Debts." First Budget aims to make solving the nation’s debt problem a high priority for the 2016 presidential candidates.

What is First Budget doing? The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board explains the premise of the group:

Haven't heard of First Budget? You would if you attended candidates' events in ... early caucus and primary states. The nonpartisan group's respected ancestors include the Concord Coalition, Fix the Debt and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, aka CRFB. Its members are pressing, politely but relentlessly, for answers about America's perilous finances from the men and women who would be our 45th president.

One of the key goals of the group is to ensure that candidates are forced to confront the financial viability of their campaign promises. Citing an op-ed written by two of First Budget’s officers:

"If they promise tax cuts or more spending, how will they pay for them without increasing the debt? How do they plan to put important programs like Social Security and Medicare on a more sustainable track?" Then let their answers guide your vote.

The editorial also includes a call for others to take up the cause that First Budget has begun:

As for candidates always prattling that they want to "invest" more in schools, or defense, or a hundred other needs: At their events or in your talks with their surrogates, ask the questions First Budget volunteers are forcing politicians to confront.

Presidential campaigns are often more about promising new spending initiatives or tax cuts. By asking candidates how they will use their first budget as President to address the national debt, First Budget aims to make deficit reduction a bigger priority and to make candidates own up to the cost of their campaign promises. This will help balance the conversation by having them talk about how to make the federal debt sustainable, an issue that will be very important for the next President.