Bowles, SimpsonIt's been a full day since the two co-chairs of President Obama's bipartisan commission to reduce the national debt released their plan--and early returns indicate that it may rank with "Waterworld" in the annals of unpopular debuts.
First, though, let's be clear on what the proposal -- authored by Erskine Bowles, who served as chief of staff to President Clinton, and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson -- is and is not. The debt commission, which President Obama established by executive order in February, is charged with establishing a framework to curb government spending and bring the federal budget deficit--now some $1.3 trillion, by the estimate of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office--back into some sort of long-term balance.
The Bowles-Simpson plan, which would save nearly $4 trillion, calls for deep cuts in domestic and military spending, a higher federal gas tax, the elimination of some tax breaks (and a reduction of tax rates on high-earners) and cuts to Social Security.
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But this proposal represents only a basis for negotiation among the commission's 18 members. Only if a final plan gains the support of 14 of those 18 -- something many observers see as unlikely -- will it be submitted to Congress for a vote in December. So we're a long way from any final decisions.Read More »from Debt panel chairmen’s proposal pleases just about no one