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Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles call for shared sacrifice in University of Oklahoma speech

Although it isn't politically expedient to say so, heading off the nation's looming fiscal crisis will require sacrifices from every American, said Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the co-chairs of the president's bipartisan debt commission, at the University of Oklahoma on Monday.
by Silas Allen Modified: October 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm •  Published: October 10, 2012

Bowles, who was White House chief of staff during the Clinton administration, said the plan wouldn't eliminate Social Security benefits. But changes are necessary to make the program sustainable.

“We're not trying to balance the budget on Granny's back,” Bowles said.

Social Security represents one of the five major challenges that stands in the way of fiscal solvency, Bowles said, with the others being health care, military spending, an ineffective tax code and the interest paid on debt.

Military spending presents a particular problem, he said. The United States bears a disproportionate responsibility for world peace, he said, and the nation spends more on national defense than the 27 next largest nations combined.

“I don't think we can afford to be the world's policeman,” Bowles said.

OU President David Boren said he is optimistic about Americans' willingness to make sacrifices.

“We're patriotic Americans,” he said. “We're ready to make sacrifices as long as we're in the same boat together.”

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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