Erskine Bowles (left) and Alan Simpson head the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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President Obama walks at the White House with presidential debt commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles (left) and Alan Simpson. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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The co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Erskine Bowles (left) and Alan Simpson (right), listen to President Obama deliver a speech in the Rose Garden of the White House. The commission will release its report on how to reduce the nation's debt this week. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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President Johnson (center) signs the Medicare Act in 1965 as former President Harry Truman (right) looks on. Now the cost of Medicare threatens to crush the federal budget. LBJ Library/National Archives hide caption

itoggle caption LBJ Library/National Archives