Continued from page 1

For future retirees, the plan also calls for the retirement age to be raised gradually from the current 65 to 68 by the year 2050 and 69 in 2075.

But the pain would be broadly shared, something deficit hawks say is key to any effective deal. Among the targets for cuts in the draft plan: farm subsidies, NASA, the federal bureaucracy, the budgets of Congress and the White House, veterans health care benefits, the Pentagon and a long list of weapons projects, international aid programs, the Smithsonian Institution and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, called the draft a “remarkable plan.”

“In a period when there has been little good news on the deficit and debt front, this is truly a most encouraging sign. If this co-chair plan is meant to be the starting point, I’d say it would be a pretty terrific ending point,” she said.

The coming clash is likely to pivot on how much belt-tightening Democrats can accept and how many tax increases Republicans can stomach. House Republican leader John A. Boehner, the Ohio Republican in line to be the next speaker of the House, emphasized again Wednesday he firmly backed an extension of tax cuts for all ratepayers passed under President George W. Bush and set to expire at the end of the year.

But liberal economists said the tough budget medicine, including cuts in federal jobs and discretionary programs designed to boost employment, was the wrong prescription for a fragile economy with an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent.

“By beginning austerity in 2012, the report does not allow enough time for the economy to recover, nor does it call for the policies necessary to get the economy back on track,” said John Irons, research and policy director for the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute.

It’s not clear if the co-chairmen will be able to attract enough support in the next few weeks to pass their program, but their strongest argument may be that doing nothing is no longer an option.

Said Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and a member of the commission, “In the real world, no family facing tough economic times has the luxury of treating portions of their budget as sacrosanct. Neither should Congress.”

“The fact is, if our country is going to survive for another generation, Congress has to make the tough choices now that will put us on a sustainable path,” he added.

Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson in their draft wrote, “American cannot be great if we go broke.”