Read

Search form

Why the Simpson-Bowles Plan Will Ultimately Fail

Why the Simpson-Bowles Plan Will Ultimately Fail
Thu, 1/17/2013 - by Aaron Swisher

What would you think of a construction crew who showed up to a job site on the first day and said, “We’re here to put on the roof!"? You’d obviously wonder if they knew what they were doing. Yet this analogy is appropriate, unfortunately, for much of what goes on in Washington D.C. A perfect example is the deficit reduction plan developed by former Senator Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.

Known as the Simpson-Bowles Budget Plan – or more appropriately, the recommendations of the National Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – it is a bipartisan blueprint meant to stabilize, and then reduce, the national debt. With the President and Congress delaying decisions on the portion of the fiscal cliff that had to do with budget cuts until next month, we will probably be hearing a lot about this flawed plan in the coming weeks.

I mean no disrespect to Mr. Simpson or Mr. Bowles, but the fact of the matter is there are a couple of major problems with their budget plan.

The first is that it is simply a budget plan and nothing more. A mere fiscal plan might be appropriate if the economy were in good working order and our only problem was a budget deficit, but this simply isn’t the case. Trying to formulate a plan to solve our financial problems without first fixing the economy (or doing both at the same time) is like trying to put the roof on a building that has no foundation or walls.

Moreover, the United States has serious energy, environmental and social problems as well. While these issues might not be completely rectified by a comprehensive economic plan, they should at least be given consideration in the process of fixing both our economic and fiscal problems. The budget plan being pushed by these gentleman's plan does nothing of the sort.

This brings us to the second problem with the Simpson-Bowles plan. In order to seem non-partisan and unbiased, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles took great pains to make sure they cut from almost every part of the budget. As former Senator Simpson likes to say, “We slaughtered every sacred cow in the field.”

While scrutinizing every part of the federal budget is a worthy approach and a necessary task, the fact of the matter is that some parts of the budget have already been cut more than is prudent. With our country’s infrastructure and educational systems desperately in need of additional investment, cutting them simply to prove impartiality skirts the important debate we should be having about various budget items.

Because Democrats and Republicans are constantly tweaking tax and spending policies to revive the economy, it would be better to establish a solid economic foundation before we ever attempt to solve our budget problems. Yet the National Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform plan does nothing to provide this economic base.

Because of that, even if the Simpson-Bowles plan manages to become acceptable to both sides, and is implemented without amendment, it is ultimately destined to fail.

Aaron Swisher is the author of “Resuscitating America – An Independent Voter’s Guide to Restoring the American Dream."

 

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Bernie Sanders supporters traveled to Philadelphia from every corner of the country this week to show their enduring support for his candidacy.

This week, as the DNC rages on, we're talking state surveillance – digging deep into the past and present with surveillance expert, Chip Gibbons from Defending Dissent

"We are in a political moment where we can dismantle not only the racist neoconservative Republican Party, but also the racist and equally destructive neoliberalism of the Democratic Party."

More than $50 billion in foreign aid is pumped into Africa annually – but did you know that roughly the same amount is illicitly siphoned out of the continent?

Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Bernie protesters, progressives, Equality Coalition for Bernie Sanders, Migrants Rights March, Juntos, immigrant rights, Democracy Spring

We’re supposed to have a government of and by the people, but the government we have is only interested in protecting the rights of big corporations and billionaires.

Greek privatizations, transit privatization, Panhellenic Railway Association, TrainOSE, water privatization, Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewage, Greek austerity policies

Late last month, the Panhellenic Railway Association took to the streets to protest a slew of public transport privatizations scheduled to take place later this year. "The government defiantly and shamelessly gives away the national wealth," it said.

Posted 5 days 5 hours ago
Democratic National Convention, DNC, DNC protests, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Bernie supporters, Food & Water Watch, March for a Clean Energy Future

More than 10,000 people calling for a “clean energy revolution” filled the streets here Sunday.

Posted 2 days 9 hours ago
anti-fracking protests, Keep It In the Ground, protester arrests, undercover agents

Emails obtained through an open records act request show that the Lakewood Police Department in Colorado collected details about a BLM oil and gas lease protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned.

Posted 5 days 4 hours ago

“Reverse redlining” flooded communities of color with toxic mortgages, practically ensuring default.

Posted 5 days 14 hours ago
#WebOfDenial, climate denial, fossil fuel industry, Exxon climate lies

In the U.S. Senate, champions for climate action and accountability are loudly putting the blame on think tanks and denier-for-hire front groups that have created doubt about climate science.

Posted 5 days 14 hours ago
ISTANBUL, Turkey

Soldiers versus police versus a mob in the newsroom of Turkey’s most-watched news channel — and dozens of reporters to document it all.

#WebOfDenial, climate denial, fossil fuel industry, Exxon climate lies

In the U.S. Senate, champions for climate action and accountability are loudly putting the blame on think tanks and denier-for-hire front groups that have created doubt about climate science.

All Lives Matter protesters come together for a group hug with join Black Lives Matter activists in Dallas at Park Ln & Fair Oaks Ave. July 10th.

In recent weeks, the Southern Poverty Law Center has received a number of requests to name Black Lives Matter a hate group. In our view, these critics fundamentally misunderstand the nature of hate groups and the BLM movement.

“Reverse redlining” flooded communities of color with toxic mortgages, practically ensuring default.

employees with criminal records, criminal justice system, Dave’s Killer Bread, Hot Chicken Takeover, POP! Gourmet Foods, Drive Change, Greyston Bakery, banning the box

Companies like Hot Chicken Takeover, POP! Gourmet Foods, and Greyston Bakery are breaking down barriers.