ELIOT – I was planning on resting for some time before authoring anything. However, since so much of my campaign was centered around the burgeoning national debt, which is now $13.6 trillion, I was very interested to see some preliminary suggestions come out of the president’s bipartisan debt commission recently.

In fact, in the press release, here’s the lead pronouncement: “This country’s out of money and we better start thinking,” said Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of the panel created by President Obama. Without “tough choices,” Bowles said, “we’re on the most predictable path toward an economic crisis that I can imagine.”

Ironically, many of the suggestions put forth by Bowles and Alan Simpson are consistent with much of what I campaigned on. However, a barrage of campaign TV advertisements from my opponent distorted the truth on many of my positions.

I feel somewhat vindicated that a bipartisan group lead by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles has validated many of these suggestions:

1. When asked about reforming Social Security, I suggested that we raise the retirement age for all people under the age of 55. The debt commission also suggested raising the retirement age for Social Security. Social Security remains the most fixable of the entitlement programs. A slight tweaking of the retirement age can fix the equation.

2. When asked about tax cuts during my Portland Press Herald Editorial Board interview, I maintained that all options should be on the table. These included, but were not limited to, real tax reform proposals. In support of this I cited two popular proposals as “starting points.” The debt commission addresses real tax reform that includes lowering tax rates while simultaneously reforming the tax code.

3. When asked about health care, I suggested that we be allowed to buy across state lines and address tort reform. The debt commission specifically addresses medical malpractice reform to bring down the cost of health care.

4. I spoke consistently about cutting discretionary spending. I posted many suggested cuts on my website, www.scontras2010.com. The debt commission suggests we cut $1.4 trillion of discretionary spending and also recommends a $733 billion reduction in mandatory spending.

5. During a debate, when asked where we should cut, I specifically said the Department of Agriculture. The debt commission specifically cites Agriculture as a major source of cutting. Specifically, $3 billion of farm subsidies, primarily to large corporate farms, not small family farms.

6. I continually championed the idea that current corporate tax rates were making the United States less competitive. At 38 percent our corporate tax rates are some of the highest in the world. A reduction in these taxes will help create jobs. The debt commission also promoted this idea.

With a sense of increased urgency, every responsible leader and policy maker is stating that the long-term structural debt problem must be tackled now. The longer we wait, the more difficult this problem becomes to resolve. It is similar to ignoring the warning signs of cancer.

We need to take our medicine now. Then we can resume a fiscally healthy approach to governing.

Just this week, we saw the Federal Reserve move to buy an additional $600 billion in Treasury bonds. This “quantitative easing” drew criticism from many quarters. In particular, the chairman of the euro-zone finance ministers said, “I don’t think it’s a good decision. You’re fighting debt with more debt.” Exactly!

It is important that all of our office holders speak to these issues with the immediacy and the political maturity they require.

While I appreciate the recent GOP gesture of forbidding earmarks, the real problem remains our structural long-term debt.

It is said that these arcane issues and talk of spending cuts and tax reform will lose elections. Perhaps that is so. However if we continue along this path, we may lose much more than just an election or two.

The question now is: What will this Congress do?