The recent fiscal situation and the intermediate-term budget outlook may appear relatively benign, Urban Institute President Robert Reischauer told the Senate Budget Committee, but deficits and debt will gradually grow to unprecedented and unsustainable levels if current tax and spending policies are not altered significantly. "The challenge we face," he said, "is determining how to balance our desire for improved health against our other priorities. We cannot have it all and ask our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab." The longer policymakers wait to act, the more wrenching the adjustments will have to be.
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