With the midterm elections in the rearview mirror, the co-chairs of President Obama’s deficit reduction commission released a draft plan of their own. Erskine Bowles, one of President Clinton’s chiefs of staff, and Alan Simpson, a former Republican Senator from Wyoming, announced the plan weeks in advance of the entire commission’s report. Clive Crook at The Atlantic speculates that disagreements have stalled the commissions progress, and that the two co-chairs “decided to rush a joint proposal out rather than have it die in private talks without seeing light of day.”
- Nobody’s happy, says Jackie Calmes at the New York Times. Republicans are angry because the Bowles-Simpson proposal suggests raising taxes. Democrats are upset with the plan because it proposes raising the retirement age and cuts spending far more than it raises revenue. Some liberals are quietly threatening primary challenges if President Obama supports major parts of the plan, while some conservatives are preparing to challenge Republicans who accede to any increase in revenue.
- But parts of the plan may survive, Brian Faler says at BusinessWeek. Though many politicians are speaking out against the proposal, some aspects, such as the overhaul of the tax code and defense spending cuts, may make it into legislation in some form or another.
- The Bowles-Simpson plan puts everything on the table, and that’s a good thing, writes Clive Crook at The Atlantic. Though the conservatives and liberals alike have bashed the deficit reduction proposal, Crook argues Bowles and Simpson were right to suggest spending cuts for nearly every program. Presumably the deficit would die a death by a thousand cuts while we the people would barely notice.
- Where’s business on this one? Peter Nicholas asks at the Los Angeles Times. Though the proposal seeks to raise revenue by $1 trillion over the next nine years, business leaders—who are traditionally against higher taxes—have been surprisingly quiet. Some think the deficits will stifle growth, and that fear has lead to an acceptance that any effort to cut deficits must also include higher taxes.
- We did it better, write the editors over at Esquire. The magazine recruited its own bipartisan commission earlier this year and published a report on the commission’s findings one month ago. Bonus points for liking their commission’s report better.