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Jul 28 2011
The "Bowles-Simpson" plan would reduce the deficit more than Republican John Boehner's plan, floated in the House of Representatives, or Democrat Harry Reid's plan proposed in the Senate. Bowles-Simpson would also achieve the $4 trillion in cuts necessary to maintain the U.S. AAA debt rating, according to Standard and Poor's. And perhaps most importantly, the unpopular changes proposed in the commission's plan were suggested by former politicians not seeking re-election...For these reasons, the commission's recommendations should be introduced as a bill and voted upon. It might be the easiest way to end a game of political chicken and it would help restore faith in our politicians (even if some of the recommendations are unpopular).
Jul 28 2011
Neither the Reid nor the Boehner plan is the answer we need for our debt crisis. The solution that would have showed markets and other nations that we are serious about tackling our $14 trillion debt is the spending cut/entitlement reform/tax revenue "grand bargain" that President Obama and Speaker Boehner worked on earlier this month and that the Gang of Six bipartisan senators presented last week. Those grand bargains weren't synonymous but they would have whacked about $4 trillion off our debt through a 75-25 split between spending changes and tax revenues...Over the next six months, it's very possible that the Gang of Six or some other group could start gaining the upper hand and drive the debate toward a much bigger deal, like a grand bargain. They almost surely would have the markets helping them, since neither Reid nor Boehner is likely to satisfy investors here or abroad.
Jul 28 2011
John Chambers, the chairman of S&P's sovereign ratings committee, said deficit cuts of that magnitude "would signal the seriousness of policymakers to address the fiscal position of the United States."...Chambers noted that, according to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. government would have to come up with savings of about 7.5 percent of its gross domestic product to actually stabilize its debt-to-GDP ratio. "I think we have it a little more than that, but $4 trillion would be a good down payment," he said, referring to the figure originally proposed by the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission and embraced by President Barack Obama in April.
Jul 28 2011
"If that [re-election] means more to you than getting a plan and stabilizing the economy, you've really got to wonder why you're there," said Alan Simpson, the former GOP Senate leader who co-chaired the deficit reduction commission that pretty much wasted its time.
Jul 28 2011
Debt commission co-chair Alan Simpson says both sides are using "goofy" rhetoric in the debt ceiling debate.
Jul 27 2011
Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles have asked Americans to pray for six U.S. senators: Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Mark Warner, D-W.Va.; and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “The Gang of Six has laid out a comprehensive plan with immediate savings and a process to achieve savings in both defense and non-defense spending, enact cost-saving health reforms, ensure 75-year Social Security solvency, fundamentally reform the United States tax code, and reduce spending everywhere in the budget,” Simpson and Bowles, co-chairs of the White House deficit reduction commission, said in a statement last week, continuing...
Jul 27 2011
The excellent report released last December by the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—and the pressure from widespread fears about fiscal instability—provide some hope that the U.S. government will eventually reach a rational agreement. Reductions in the long-term path of entitlement outlays have to be central, with increases in ages of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare a part of any solution.
Jul 27 2011
Former Idaho congressman Walt Minnick has weighed into the federal debt debate. In a guest opinion today, Minnick blamed extremists in both parties for torpedoing a deal to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years...Minnick also touted the "Gang of Six" deficit plan co-authored by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and five Senate colleagues. "Yes, we must raise the debt ceiling so we can pay our existing bills, but let’s do so by enacting fundamental reform like that advocated by the Gang of Six, which sets the nation on a fiscally responsible course for less federal government debt and renewed private sector growth."
Jul 27 2011
In the deliberations of the president’s Fiscal Commission, which I co-chaired, Sen. Dick Durbin was a strong advocate for the principles of fairness and balance in deficit reduction...I, for one, am encouraged that instead of playing politics with our economy, Durbin has been working hard with the Gang of Six and in meetings at the White House to come up with a serious, bipartisan deficit reduction proposal that reflects the principles of fairness and balance that were in the Fiscal Commission. He understands that in order to move our country forward, both political parties have to be willing to find a middle ground. It takes a lot of guts to put your name on a compromise proposal that your traditional supporters may not love. But that’s what principled compromise is, and that’s what America needs right now.
Jul 26 2011
Erskine Bowles, once chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, quipped that he would need to enter a witness protection programme. It was the first week of December, and Bowles and Alan Simpson, a former Republican Senator for Wyoming, had just delivered Congress an unwanted Christmas present.