March 13 2013 12:00 AM

Coalition calls on feds to avoid fiscal cliff, solve debt crisis

Wednesday, Nov. 14 — The Michigan chapter of a national nonpartisan coalition of business leaders, politicians and advocates have a simple message for Congress and the president: Fix the debt.

At a press conference today at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan chapter of a national coalition called Fix the Debt discussed why the growing national debt is the nation’s greatest economic and national security threat.

“This is a moral issue. My generation can’t, in good conscience, saddle this burden on future generations,” said Ken Sikkema, the state co-chairman of Fix the Debt and former Republican state Senate Majority Leader.

Sikkema is also a senior policy analyst at Public Sector Consultants, a Lansing-based public policy research firm.

The problem is two-fold, Sikkema said. First, there is the so-called fiscal cliff, which will increase taxes and indiscriminately cut federal military and non-military spending on Jan. 1 if Congress can’t reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion by the end of the year. And then there’s the debt, which is at $16 trillion and will continue to grow at a rate of $1 trillion a year if nothing is done to reform spending and revenue streams, he said.

“The fiscal cliff must be averted,” he said, adding that it would put the country into another “recession” and hurt “millions of families” if it isn’t.

See here for more on how the fiscal cliff would affect Lansing.

As far as the debt goes, the Fix the Debt campaign isn’t offering specific suggestions to federal officials — it is simply urging them to do something about it. Sikkema said spending reductions, entitlement reforms to programs like Medicare and Social Security and tax reforms will be necessary.

“The exact mix is the responsibility of federal policymakers to come up with,” he said. Higher interest payments, lower national savings, more borrowing from abroad and less domestic investment will occur if the debt isn’t stifled, Sikkema added.