July 14th, 2011
03:45 PM ET

Gergen: Time for a truce on debt-ceiling talks

Editor's note: David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has been an adviser to four presidents. He is a professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

(CNN) - With tempers near a boiling point and the risk growing that the United States could default on its debt obligations, it is time for a truce in the budget talks in Washington - essentially a cease-fire in place.

The outlines of a cease-fire are readily apparent, and indeed there are signs that behind the scenes some conversations are already taking place. Here's what a truce might look like:

• Democrats agree to accept some $1.5 trillion in spending cuts that have been on the table but give up their demands that a deal also include significant tax increases.

• Republicans agree to lift the debt limit by some $2.5 trillion, enough to carry past the 2012 elections, but give up their demands that spending cuts must match or exceed the debt-limit increase dollar for dollar.

• Both sides agree to close tax loopholes and raise fees for government services, but agree to use the resulting revenue for offsetting payroll tax decreases and other means of pumping life in the economy, thus making the proposition revenue-neutral.

• Both sides agree that this fall, a new set of negotiators be appointed to press forward with additional ways to achieve credible, long-term deficit reductions.

A deal like this certainly won't meet the full expectations of Washington warriors, but it will be good for the country - and arguably, a lot better for the parties than their partisans may think.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Charles Tuell

    Why is it that Mr Gergen seems to be the only person in or around DC that has any brains. I have just looked and listened to his thoughts and ideas and darned if he isn't riight on the money with his ideas. Maybe some of those so called members of the Senate and the House could siit down and spend some time listening this Great Person. Thank you!

    July 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  2. Steven Schmidt

    Dear M. Gergen, it is clear that the American public will be the big losers if no debt ceiling agreement is done by August 2nd, but are there big winners? If interests rates go up because America's credit rating is downgraded, isn't it the banks and investments firms that will most benefit...again? And since they have such a influential lobby in Washington, what is the incentive for politicians to resolve this crisis on time rather than wait a few months down the road after they each blame one another for the "Ah, see! I told you so" routine? Best Regards, S.Schmidt

    July 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  3. paul

    well Obama has scared social security pension people, i am a small business electrician, today i received a called from a customer, that i was to start a job , their call to me today was. i amy putting our electrical work on hold, because we may not be getting our social checks. thanks obama. real help for small business.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm |