To the Editor:

Re “The Cowardice of the Deficit Scolds,” by Paul Krugman (column, May 9):


It is time to face up to massive U.S. debt that both Presidents Trump and Biden helped accelerate.


Many years ago, Mr. Krugman and others accused President George W. Bush and me of trying to privatize Social Security. The rhetoric poisoned the well for Social Security reform, which even Mr. Biden was suggesting was then needed. Reforms would have greatly improved today’s U.S. financial position.


The “scolds” I know believe that long-term deficit reduction requires lower expenditures and higher revenues. Having managed four government agencies, I would add better management by political appointees and Congress to proactively address the challenges.


We have to raise the debt ceiling, but we need to stop the U.S. debt doubling over the next 10 years. That is not “extortion” or “blackmail.” It is acting to safeguard America’s future.


James B. Lockhart
Greenwich, Conn.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. He was director of the Federal Housing Financial Agency and the Office of the Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, principal deputy commissioner of Social Security and director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

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