Obama throws his fiscal commissioners under the bus ... Deficit panel leaders propose curbs on Social Security, major cuts in spending, tax breaks

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    Nov 11, 2010 2:24 AM GMT
    Obama throws his fiscal commissioners under the bus

    By Stephen Stromberg

    The co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, which President Obama convened to recommend viable ways to fix America's finances, produced an ambitious plan Wednesday afternoon. It would decrease Social Security cost of living increases, cut discretionary spending -- including on defense -- raise the gas tax, eliminate the mortgage-interest tax deduction, press down health costs and other difficult things. In return, though, the government would run drastically smaller deficits -- an enviable 2.2 percent of GDP by 2015 -- and gradually reduce the total national debt.

    Other members of the fiscal commission are already attacking the report, and since the politics of the deficit are currently dysfunctional, none of this looks likely to see the approval of either Congress or the full commission.

    But what of president Obama? Would he at least acknowledge that these were the sorts of tough choices he and Congress should be examining? Or would he throw his co-chairs under the bus, too? This just arrived in my inbox, from White House spokesman Bill Burton:

    The president will wait until the bipartisan fiscal commission finishes its work before commenting. He respects the challenging task that the co-chairs and the commissioners are undertaking and wants to give them space to work on it. These ideas, however, are only a step in the process towards coming up with a set of recommendations and the president looks forward to reviewing their final product early next month.

    So Obama doesn't want to have anything to do with this report. But he will leave it to the commission to repudiate Wednesday's recommendations, which should make it easier for the president to ignore the difficult stuff. He's all but begging the fiscal commission for its work to be inadequate. Inspiring.


    "The leaders of President Obama's deficit commission on Wednesday offered an ambitious plan to rebalance the federal budget by curbing increases in Social Security benefits, slashing spending on most federal operations and wiping out more than $100 billion a year in tax breaks for individuals and businesses. The proposal is aimed at cutting more than $3.8 trillion from deficits over the next decade.

    The plan was drafted by the men Obama picked to lead the commission's effort, former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican senator Alan K. Simpson. They presented the document during a closed-door meeting of the 18-member commission, which is due to make recommendations by Dec. 1 for reining in record budget deficits.

    The proposal - which is far bolder and more comprehensive than many commission members appeared to expect - offers a five-step plan for stabilizing the federal debt by 2014 and bringing it down to more historic levels over the next 30 years.

    The plan calls for sharp reductions in discretionary spending that would slice more than $200 billion a year out of budgets for the Pentagon and other federal agencies in 2015 and beyond. Strict spending caps would be enforced by new procedural rules and automatic across-the-board cuts.

    The plan would squeeze another $100 billion a year out of the tax code through a comprehensive strategy that would eliminate all of the expensive and popular deductions known as tax expenditures. The would include tax breaks for mortgage interest and employer-provided health care and special rates for capital gains and dividends. ... "

  • Webster666

    Posts: 9225

    Nov 12, 2010 7:10 AM GMT
    All it does is screw what's left of the middle class.

    If I ran the circus:

    1) Let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire
    2) End the wars
    3) Outlaw earmarks
    4) Don't reduce Medicare
    5) Don't raise the retirement age
    6) Don't decrease Social Security benefits for future retirees
    7) Don't increase the gas tax
    icon_cool.gif Don't eliminate the mortgage interest tax credit
    9) Increase paycheck withholding for Social Security
    10) Raise tariffs on all imports
    11) Tax all American companies that manufacture products overseas and then bring those products back to America to sell

    (I don't know why that stupid emoticon keeps showing up in place of the numeral 8...)