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Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 7:46 p.m.

Finance experts say fiscal cliff was avoidable

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Colleen Murphy.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson, left, and Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, right, discuss the economy and its role in the 2012 presidential election Tuesday at 1957 E St. Margaret Rajic | Hatchet Photographer

A former senator and a budget expert called Tuesday on the country to elect the candidate who can offer a stable plan to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff.”

On the eve of the first presidential debate, former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., said in a panel at 1957 E St. that the next president must come up with a sustainable budget that chips away at the country’s $16 trillion debt. He called it “the most avoidable economic crisis in history.”

He said Americans should be wary of candidates who claim to have a plan but do not address Medicare, Medicaid, social security and defense.

Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, joined Simpson. Simpson co-chaired the president’s bipartisan national debt commission, while Bernstein served as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economist from 2009-2011.

“The thing that is hurting us is the fact that we’re, over the longer term, spending more than we’re taking in and that health care costs are growing,” Bernstein said.

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