Change We Can Believe In

From the Weekly Standard:

Technically speaking, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform seems headed toward failure. The commission, chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, is required to produce a report by December 1 providing recommendations for reducing the deficit and debt. To be adopted as a recommendation of the commission, a proposal must win the votes of 14 of the body’s 18 members. It now looks increasingly unlikely that any proposal will reach that threshold.

But, in an effort to avoid simply declaring defeat, a number of members have offered their own ideas in recent weeks. And several of these ideas have been quite promising.

On November 10, the two co-chairmen released a comprehensive proposal that would significantly reduce the deficit and debt. Although it suffered from some major flaws—most notably a failure to deal with health care costs, an excessive overall tax burden, and badly misguided cuts in the defense budget—the Bowles-Simpson proposal offered many good and bold ideas, including sensible reforms of Social Security, cuts to discretionary spending, and improvements of the tax code. The chairmen’s draft could serve as a plausible starting position for the Obama administration in negotiations with Republicans, from which the president would need to move rightward on some key issues.

Even more significant, however, was a proposal released last week by Alice Rivlin, a Democrat and former budget director under Bill Clinton, and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the next chairman of the House Budget Committee. Rivlin and Ryan took up the subject on which the chairmen punted—our exploding health care entitlements.

Read the rest here: Change we Can Believe In

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