BOSTON (AP) -- The heads of President Barack Obama's national debt commission painted a gloomy picture Sunday as the United States struggles to get its spending under control.
Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles told a meeting of the National Governors Association that everything needs to be considered -- including curtailing popular tax breaks, such as the home mortgage deduction, and instituting a financial trigger mechanism for gaining Medicare coverage.
The nation's total federal debt next year is expected to exceed $14 trillion -- about $47,000 for every U.S. resident.
"This debt is like a cancer," Bowles said in a sober presentation nonetheless lightened by humorous asides between him and Simpson. "It is truly going to destroy the country from within."
Simpson said the entirety of the nation's current discretionary spending is consumed by the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs. (more)