- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2010


10. Conservatives hijacked Obama’s plan

Paul Krugman, the New York Times:”It’s no mystery what has happened on the deficit commission: As so often happens in modern Washington, a process meant to deal with real problems has been hijacked on behalf of an ideological agenda. Under the guise of facing our fiscal problems, [Erskine] Bowles and [Alan] Simpson are trying to smuggle in the same old, same old - tax cuts for the rich and erosion of the social safety net. Can anything be salvaged from this wreck? I doubt it. The deficit commission should be told to fold its tents and go away.”

9. It will destroy the New Deal

Richard Eskow, Campaign for America’s Future: “So-called ‘deficit hawks’ like … (commission Co-chairmen) Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson aren’t just unserious. They’re radicals. Their positions are an extreme departure from the philosophy of government that’s guided American policy for a century. They’re promoting an upward redistribution of wealth that would change the shape of our society forever. They’re want to weaken a social contract that’s existed since the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt and dismantle the economic principles we’ve had since Teddy Roosevelt.”

8. Touches Social Security

Rep. Brad Miller, North Carolina Democrat, Huffington Post: “More to the point, Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. ‘Since Social Security is legally prohibited from ever spending more than it has collected in taxes,’ Dean Baker correctly argues, ‘it cannot under the law contribute to the deficit.’ The Social Security system ‘fell outside of the mandate’ of the Deficit Commission, Baker said. ‘They must have been expecting extra credit.’ We are right to worry about Social Security, and we are right to worry about our long-term deficit. But the two are completely distinct.”

7. It’s a conspiracy!

Robert Johnson, New Deal 2.0: “These are money party recommendations from a Commission appointed by two money parties that survive on money to conjure votes through media expenditure in a money politics distorted framework.”

6. It’s a conspiracy! (Part II)

Kevin Drum, MotherJones .com: “This is less a report on reducing the deficit than it is a report on remaking the government in a conservative image.”

5. Liberal spending counts as spending

John Irons, Economic Policy Institute: “In particular, nearly half of the adjustments come from cuts to discretionary spending - a portion of the budget that is not responsible for long-term deficits. The suggested reductions include a wide range of cuts that would cost jobs and increase financial burdens on working families.”

4. It’s based on the Laffer Curve

David Sirota, OpenLeft.org.: The “commission’s major tax proposal for dealing with the national debt is pure Arthur Laffer: specifically, a proposal to lower the top-bracket tax rate and lower the corporate tax rate. Equally unsurprising is the commission’s demand for massive Social Security and Medicare cuts. None of this makes sense if you are a Regular Person.”

3. Makes liberals look extreme

Barbara O’Brien, Mahablog.com: “What’s worse, there appears to be a kind of circling of the wagons in Washington, protecting the Commission from the wild mob outside the Beltway that is reacting against it. Already media is hinting that anyone who is adamantly opposed to gutting Medicare or raising the retirement age is an extremist, whereas reasonable people are soberly considering these things because they have to make tough choices (i.e., tax cuts for the rich and erosion of the social safety net).”

2. Insufficient taxes

Matt Yglesias, ThinkProgress.orig.: “The flipside of the Simpson-Bowles document’s unsound aggregate cap on revenue is that they were very uncreative in their exploration of revenue options. For example, what about a tax on greenhouse gas emissions? … The federal alcohol tax’s inflation-adjusted value is currently much lower than it was in the 1950s even though the country as a whole is much richer. Mark Kleiman observes that putting it back up closer to where it was ‘would bring in on the order of $15 billion a year. …’ “

1. Nancy hates it

Soon-to-be-former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “This proposal is simply unacceptable.”

David Mastio is deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Times.

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