Since Vietnam, wars have been "guns and butter" affairs. Little, if any, sacrifice was called for from Americans except from those serving in the military and their families.
The war against ruinous government debt cannot be fought with a "guns and butter" attitude. For the federal government to begin to win the war, it will take across-the-board financial sacrifice from every citizen. No sacred cows, no funding for political pork projects, no tax cuts or spending to keep political bases happy can be safe. Eliminating the deficit is not enough. We must reduce then eliminate the debt.
I suggest adopting the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan as proposed. In addition, to the extent it does not conflict with the Simpson-Bowles plan, restore the tax levels for all to the levels in effect before the Bush tax cuts. The exception would be the alternative minimum tax, which would be increased to a reasonable level and automatically inflation adjusted.
Although imperfect, the Simpson-Bowles plan is by far the best one on the table. It was a bipartisan development and, as such, is not well-liked by either the far right or the far left.
The country did well just prior to 2001, the beginning of the Bush tax cuts. I believe we can do as well or better, even with ending the cuts and adopting the Simpson-Bowles plan.