By Jay Heflin - 04/12/10 08:53 PM EDT
The senator believes the key to reducing the red ink is reining in entitlement spending.
"There's no sacred cows," he said. "All of the entitlements are on the table. It doesn't mean we're doing away with them. It means all of them or any of them might have to be changed so they spend less money."
Medicare and Social Security are two of the programs he mentioned that will be examined by the panel. Senior citizen buy-in is crucial for implementing any prospective change to them.
"The reality of the problem must be understood by the group of Americans who will be affected," he said. "Somebody in the leadership position will have to [spend] adequate time with the seniors of America to convince them that this is a war to save America."
Tampering with Social Security and Medicare benefits is normally considered risking given the political prowess of seniors. It has been likened to stepping on the electrified third rail of subway train line where death is instant.
Domenici characterized Medicare and Medicare outlays as "big monster expenditures that has to be reduced."
He also said tax increases must be on the table, but stopped short of calling for the expiration of tax breaks enacted under President George W. Bush.
The senator's task force ramps up efforts on the debt and deficit just as President Obama's debt panel begins its work. The senator said the administration's panel had a "better than reasonable chance that it will not succeed" because it has "too many politicians on it."
Domenici sees his task force as a back-up for Obama when the administration's panel falls through.