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We all know the growing national debt is a threat to our country. And right now, lawmakers are struggling to come up with a plan to address the looming issue of breaching the national debt limit.

But, as AFP Senior Fiscal Policy Fellow Kurt Couchman points out in a new op-ed, the debt ceiling is a symptom of a bigger illness in Washington. That illness? Congress’ refusal to budget in a responsible manner, and the addiction to reckless spending.

Stop the Spending Spree

Instead of haggling over the debt limit, Couchman argues Congress should be focused on more substantial reforms that address the underlying issue.

Among his proposals are:

  1. Bipartisan, intermediate-term fixes such as the TRUST Act, which would create bipartisan commissions to come up with plans to keep programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and the Highway Trust Fund solvent.
  2. Automatic continuing resolutions that prevent government shutdowns and provide incentives for timely completion of the appropriations process.
  3. Unified budgeting that includes all spending and revenue in a single bill, and establishing balance over the business cycle to stabilize and eventually reduce debt-to-GDP ratio.

For more on Couchman’s solutions to the debt issue, read his op-ed in The Hill.