FORMER SENATORS ROBERT KERREY AND JOHN DANFORTH RELEASE UPDATE OF 1994 REPORT ON ENTITLEMENT AND TAX REFORM, URGE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TO FOCUS ON FISCAL CHALLENGES

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Former U.S. Senators J. Robert Kerrey and John C. Danforth today released an update of a 1994 commission report on entitlement and tax reform and called on Americans — particularly presidential hopefuls — to quickly address the nation’s fiscal challenges.

A bipartisan majority of the original Kerrey-Danforth commission warned that with an aging population and rising health care costs, the country was on an unsustainable budget path that jeopardized its future growth and prosperity. Today’s update says that despite some positive changes over the last two decades, the budget remains on an unsustainable path, with the key problems identified in the 1994 report yet to be adequately addressed.

“We understand that Democrats and Republicans will have different views on how these issues should be addressed,” Kerrey and Danforth say in their new report. “But resolving those differences is what the legislative process is all all about. Let there be no doubt that we still have fundamental problems and that they must be addressed sooner rather than later. Twenty years of procrastination is enough.”

The two former senators put together their update in collaboration with The Concord Coalition. The report was released this afternoon at a program at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington that the BPC and Concord co-hosted. The program, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., is to be livestreamed here.

Kerrey and Danforth say it is “particularly critical for the 2016 presidential candidates in both parties to prominently and candidly address” the problems that are reviewed in the new report.

“Don’t duck the debt,” Kerrey and Danforth advise the candidates. “Your campaign promises for reviving the economy, strengthening national defense, improving the social safety net or reducing the tax burden will ring hollow if they count on an escalating and unsustainable infusion of borrowed money.”

For years after it was issued, the Kerrey-Danforth commission’s 1994 report was central to discussions over long-term reform of the federal budget. An overwhelming majority of the panel agreed on seven key findings that its former co-chairs say are all still valid today.

These findings call for taking immediate action to protect America’s children from unfair fiscal burdens, substantially raising national savings, preventing entitlements from rapidly consuming more and more of the federal budget, taking account of projected increases in health care costs, taking account of demographic changes, bringing Medicare spending and revenues available to the program into long-term balance, and doing the same with Social Security. 

The original report said that if the country failed to respond to such calls for action, years afterwards Americans would ask why there had been so little foresight.

“Twenty years have passed and the American people have a right to ask that question,” Kerrey and Danforth say now. “Why has there been so little action? There is no good answer.”

They describe their new report as not just a retrospective account but as a challenge to a new generation of fiscal leaders: “Take up this cause. Do what our generation of leaders has failed to do. Solve this problem.”

A copy of the new report is available here.

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Local Law Firm to Host Free Informational Seminar at ArtServe

Leading Florida community association law Firm Kaye Bender Rembaum has announced it will be hosting a free town hall meeting on Tuesday, January 13 at 6:45 p.m. at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale as part of its seventh annual town hall meeting series. Kaye Bender Rembaum attorneys will discuss industry hot topics, including the 2014 legislative changes, assistance animal issues and more, as well as answer community association-related questions from board members, residents and property managers of condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations.

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“For the past six years, we have hosted these town hall meetings throughout Broward, Miami Dade and Palm Beach Counties in an effort to help answer questions from local community association leaders in an informal setting. They need this pertinent information to effectively and efficiently run their communities,” said Robert L. Kaye, Esq., Managing Firm Member of Kaye Bender Rembaum.

 

ArtServe is located at 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Interested attendees should RSVP and send questions or topics for discussion to KBRLegalSeminar@piersongrant.com or call 954-776-1999, ext. 236. 

Rubio Comments On Obamacare Bailout Provisions

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the original sponsor of S.2214, the Obamacare Taxpayer Bailout Protection Act, today issued the following statement regarding the Obamacare bailout provisions in the omnibus spending bill released last night:

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“For over a year, I’ve fought to protect Americans from having to fund massive bailouts to protect the profits of the insurance companies that helped write Obamacare. While there is much in this massive spending measure that is simply bad for America, at least the provisions protecting against a taxpayer-funded bailout of insurance companies are a step in the right direction. While the Obama administration can still administer the risk-corridor program, for one year at least, they won’t be able to use taxpayer funds to bail out insurance companies. When Congress returns next year, I will fight to permanently repeal the risk corridor provisions to protect taxpayers after the current legislation expires.”

In October, Rubio and his colleagues sent a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to protect Congress’ power of the purse and prohibit the Obama administration from dispersing unlawful risk corridor payments that expose taxpayers to an Obamacare bailout.

Raise ladders of opportunity, not just the minimum wage

By Senator Marco Rubio

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The South Florida Sun-Sentinel

December 1, 2014

Over the last two decades, globalization and technological progress have transformed the very nature of the American economy, yet our nation’s policies and institutions have failed to adapt with them.

 

They are designed for a time before anyone had heard of the Internet. They are designed for a time when higher education was a luxury rather than a necessity. They are designed for a time when it took a trip on a jetliner to conduct business internationally rather than a tap on a smartphone.

As a result, the most radical age of innovation in history is resulting in hardship rather than prosperity. In order to move our nation into this century and restore the American Dream, we need ideas as big as our current crisis.

Let’s take the example of a single mom in Miami working at a fast food restaurant and making $8 an hour. What concrete things can we do to bring the transformational power of the American Dream within her reach?

Democrats will tell you the answer is to simply raise the minimum wage. But like nearly every other industry, food service is rapidly changing due to technological advances. Raising the minimum wage will only pressure this woman’s employer to move faster toward the inevitable step of replacing her position with a touchscreen or similar technology.

To truly transform this woman’s life, she needs the opportunity to go from making $8 an hour as a cashier to making $30 an hour in her restaurant’s corporate office, or in one of the many new industries emerging in this century.

To raise these ladders of opportunity, our leaders need to focus on three goals. First, we need to grow the economy and accelerate the creation of high-paying 21st century jobs. Second, we need to help her access the skills she needs for these jobs. And third, we need to assist her with the rising cost of living.

Addressing the first goal will require pro-growth economic policies aimed at spurring innovation, expanding emerging industries, and allowing businesses to access the hundreds of millions of international customers within their reach.

The second goal will require us to revolutionize higher education by making it more flexible, affordable, and accessible to all Americans.

For the third goal, instead of a counterproductive minimum wage hike, we should institute a wage enhancement credit that encourages work and provides relief to low-wage workers. We should also institute pro-family tax reforms such as a substantial increase in the child tax credit.

That’s just a quick overview of what must be a comprehensive and extensive set of reforms. I’ve spent this year proposing these and many other ideas that I believe will extend the American Dream my mother and father lived to every American.

Even though our country and our people are hurting today, we live in the country that remains the best positioned to access the prosperity of the 21st century. We live in a country that has risen to every challenge it has ever faced. We are the descendants of a people that have never yielded to hardship, and who will not do so today.

Read the entire article here.