Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bowles and Simpson's proposal

The NY Times published an editorial on the recent comission co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson regarding their proposal for fiscal responsibility and reform. Bowles served as the chief of staff to President Bill Clinton while Simpson served as a Senator for Wyoming.
It frankly acknowledges what most politicians are too cowardly to admit — that deficit reduction will require shared sacrifice.

It lays out sensible principles, prominent among them that deficit reduction should start gradually, beginning in 2012, to avoid disrupting the fragile economic recovery. It also affirms the need to protect the most vulnerable Americans and to invest in education, infrastructure and research and development.

Then it does what any successful deficit reduction plan must do: It puts everything on the table, including tax reform to raise revenue and cuts in spending on health care and defense. It even dares to mention the need to find significant savings in Social Security, Medicare and other mandatory programs.

In a misguided provision, it assumes that spending and revenues should not exceed 21 percent of gross domestic product — a numeric limit that could make it impossible to meet future national needs. In all, however, the proposal is both broad and deep.

It is not clear what the commission’s final report will say. It is even doubtful that this plan would garner the 14 votes from the 18-member commission that are required to send the package to Congress for a vote in December.

At a time when good ideas are depressingly scarce in the political and economic debate, and bipartisan agreement even scarcer, this is a commendable start.
I hope something gets accomplished sooner rather than later.

No comments: