- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Scratch past the surface of a proposed tax code overhaul and deficit-reduction plan shaping up Tuesday on Capitol Hill and it’s clear: It’s déjà vu, all over again.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles — the same deficit masters who co-chaired the White House’s 2010 deficit-reduction panel — are now bringing forth another tax code overhaul plan aimed at garnering a bipartisan look. Only it’s the same arguments that are brewing over this 2013 plan that actually killed the 2010 plan.

The Simpson-Bowles proposal is a 10-year, $2.4 trillion revenue plan that identifies $600 billion in spending cuts, the WSJ reports. The cuts mostly come from Medicare and Medicaid. They’ve also identified reforms, from how Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are determined to how farm subsidies are awarded.

Still, it’s not likely the White House will accept the plan, because it’s about $200 billion more they wanted to cut, the WSJ says. And Republicans aren’t likely to accept it, either — because they don’t want tax increases to be included in deficit-reduction talks.

So another stalemate?

As the WSJ reminds, the proposal comes at a time when lawmakers and White House officials already indirectly admitted one defeat in deficit-reduction talks, after leaving for a recess last week without finalizing the fate of $85 billion in federal spending cuts slated to take effect March 1.

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