Why the Simpson-Bowles Plan Will Ultimately Fail

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."

 

Article Tabs

FarmDrop and Open Food Network stress the desire to create positive, systemic social change that disrupts the existing dominance of supermarket provision of food.

Republicans are arguing that Wall Street should have the constitutional right to influence politicians and the investment decisions those politicians make on behalf of pension funds and pensioners.

As the outrage in Ferguson takes on new forms and becomes less openly confrontational, the shooting of Michael Brown has started a nationwide dialogue about race, class and American law enforcement.

The vote on Independence is a moment of unprecedented possibility for Scotland to peacefully reject the U.K.'s failed neoliberal agenda.

Grassroots organizations that once made American democracy strong plummeted in the Reagan era – when political parties stopped representing the views of constituents and turned instead to money.

Charlie Hardy, the 75-year-old former Catholic priest now running for Senate, wants to halt NSA spying on ordinary citizens and overturn Citizens United with a Constitutional amendment.

Posted 6 days 22 hours ago

If we want a healthy society that follows its laws and applies them equally to everyone, we must demand a full investigation and criminal prosecutions for everyone involved in the mortgage backed securities fiasco.

Posted 4 days 13 hours ago

The vote on Independence is a moment of unprecedented possibility for Scotland to peacefully reject the U.K.'s failed neoliberal agenda.

Posted 3 days 18 hours ago

From clashes during the Occupy movement to violence this month in Ferguson, Mo., researchers say protests get ugly when officers use aggressive tactics, dress in riot gear and line up like military.

Posted 6 days 21 hours ago

FarmDrop and Open Food Network stress the desire to create positive, systemic social change that disrupts the existing dominance of supermarket provision of food.

Posted 3 days 18 hours ago
Year of the Worker: How Labor Struggles Punctuated 2012

As 2012 marked the year of the worker, 2013 must become the year to strengthen the labor movement so that it truly combats poverty and inequality in the U.S.

Memo to Wealthy America: Some Facts About the Victims of Greed

The 1% has taken from the poor and the middle class for thirty years using a variety of strategies to redistribute wealth to the top. Here is the effect of this funds transfer.

Backed by funders like Goldman Sachs and Google Ventures, the on-demand ride service company has exploded in popularity – though its business methods are coming under increased scrutiny.

Corpocrisy: The Systemic Betrayal of American Workers

Government has contributed significantly to developing today's most modern technologies, and corporations have taken full advantage—meanwhile making never-before-seen profits, evading taxes, cutting jobs and hoarding excess money.

The Vaca Muerta Petroleum System in the western Argentina province of Neuquén is a large shale rock formation with major gas and oil resources.

Sign Up