Erskine Bowles on the budget.
“I'm really concerned,” Bowles told the committee last month. “I think we face the most predictable economic crisis in history. A lot of us sitting in this room didn't see this last crisis as it came upon us. But this one is really easy to see. The fiscal path we are on today is simply not sustainable.
“This debt and these deficits that we are incurring on an annual basis are like a cancer and they are truly going to destroy this country from within unless we have the common sense to do something about it,” said Bowles.
“I used to say that I got into this thing for my grandchildren,” Bowles said. “I have eight grandchildren under five years old. I'll have one more in a week. And my life is wonderful and it is wild. But this problem is going to happen long before my grandchildren grow up.
“This problem is going to happen, like the former chairman of the Fed said, or the Moody's said, this is a problem we're going to have to face up,” he said. “It may be two years, you know, maybe a little less, maybe a little more. But if our bankers over there in Asia begin to believe that we're not going to be solid on our debt, that we're not going to be able to meet our obligations, just stop and think for a minute what happens if they just stop buying our debt.
“What happens to interest rates?” asked Bowles. “And what happens to the U.S. economy? The markets will absolutely devastate us if we don't step up to this problem. The problem is real, the solutions are painful, and we have to act.”