The Obama administration has promised that its next budget will confront the long-term fiscal problem, and the commission's report provides some useful advice. It suggests one possible approach to solving the problem and offers some benchmarks for judging what the administration comes up with in February. But the commission chose not to grapple with the key question of how, precisely, the government can best close the gap between projected spending and revenues.
The United States needs to start discussing specific spending cuts and tax increases. The commission is quite right that both will be required. But the issue will remain abstract and artificial -- and, above all, will not be acted on -- until real, live, deficit-reducing policies are on the table.
David Broder on the same subject: Dishing out some shock on debt.