The unraveling of the budget process described by Irene Rubin will have extraordinary consequences for the long-term budget outlook facing the nation. The retirement of the baby boom generation will prompt unprecedented and unsustainable structural fiscal imbalances for decades to come. Early policy action on the spending and revenue sides of the budget is critical to avert fiscal and economic crisis and to phase in changes in order to avoid precipitous and politically perilous actions in the future. Yet such actions constitute what amounts to a politically unnatural act, as one generation of political leaders is asked to make sacrifices in current policies benefiting future generations. Budget process reforms can serve to highlight the salience of these issues and help deal with the significant political hurdles faced by decision makers in making these intertemporal budgeting trade-offs. Ironically, the need for budget rules and processes has intensified as policy makers have become more vulnerable to polarized political parties, ever more watchful media, and mobilized interest groups. Budget rules and processes can help policy makers cope by protecting their ability to make the hard choices that will be necessary. The pressures for budget process reform will accelerate as the current financial crisis increases near-term budgetary pressures, promoting greater alignment between near-term and long-term fiscal problems.