On Capitol Hill, paying for it has been a forgotten detail in recent years as the country's deficits have soared to record levels. The Treasury Department announced Tuesday that in March the federal government racked up a $188 billion deficit. With lawmakers currently touting $38 billion in spending cuts in the new bipartisan budget deal to fund government operations for the next five months as a "historic" achievement, making drastic cuts to reduce a $14 trillion debt could be a tall order.
The fight over the $38 billion in cuts almost resulted in the first government shutdown in 15 years. Imagine what a fight over $14 trillion could do.
"In the eight days leading up to the budget deal, we racked up $54 billion in new debt – way more than the proposed cuts," Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, pointed out on Facebook Tuesday. "And when you look at the details of the cuts, even that $38 billion isn't real. We must do far better."
When President Obama delivers his speech this afternoon at George Washington University in the nation's capital, he could go a long way towards outlining a vision for how to stabilize the country's fiscal situation. And pundits on both sides of the political aisle agree that Paul Ryan's 2012 budget proposal was a bold effort, whether they agree with it or not.
But ultimately, the best chance for serious action on the country's debt crisis could come from a group of six senators, quietly meeting on Capitol Hill. Of course, they will have to reach a deal first. And then that deal will have to gain traction among politicians focusing more and more on next year's elections.
If nothing else, it could be a start – and that, at this point, is sorely needed.