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

Studies show that debts prevent former misdemeanants and felons from escaping poverty and moving on with their lives – not only because of what’s owed but also because of the accompanying stress and surveillance.

The rules are expected to trigger a “tsunami” of legal opposition from states and utilities who oppose the plans, which will significantly boost wind and solar power generation and force a switch away from coal power.

Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, revolving door, money in politics, golden parachutes, Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act, Robert Hormats, Thomas Nides, Goldman Sachs, Project on Government Oversight, Enron scan

Cozy with Wall Street, Hillary hasn't endorsed the Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act prohibiting government officials from accepting “golden parachutes” from their former employers for entering public service.

presidential candidates, corporate tax breaks, corporate welfare

From terrible company management to supporting the Iraq war to giving away astronomical sums to corporations, here's a cast of candidates who should be dropped from the ledgers.

Activists dangling by ropes from the city's tallest bridge, and kayakers on the water below, blocked the icebreaker from heading to the Arctic for a drill operation.

Frackanpada, anti-fracking movement, fracking bans, anti-fracking camp, fracking resistance, Fracking Ez, Basque anti-fracking movement

“This is the first time fracking activists have got together on this scale internationally – from Kurdistan to Brazil, from Ukraine to Portugal and Algeria," says Catriona of Ireland, who attended the recent Frackanpada.

Posted 5 days 13 hours ago
tar sands, tar sands bikeride, carbon emissions, bitumen, The Road to Athabasca, Trans Mountain Pipeline

Through discovery of place, through story, and through personal connection with people along the way, we are journeying 1,100 miles to the tar sands of Alberta – and are asking for your support in our venture.

Posted 4 days 13 hours ago

Being sick and having nowhere to turn is terrorizing far too many Americans – as medical fraud, huge price markups and pharmaceutical copyright laws are contributing to growing illnesses and early death.

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago

This week, Aaron Draper invites you to see the humanity in the homeless via external flashes and light boxes. Next, Congress is peddling poison and wants to keep you in the DARK.

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago
non-violent drug offenses, Million Dollar Blocks

"I tell you what, I wish instead of spending so much money on [incarcerating people], they'd come fill some of these crater holes behind my house."

Posted 5 days 13 hours ago
tar sands, tar sands bikeride, carbon emissions, bitumen, The Road to Athabasca, Trans Mountain Pipeline

Through discovery of place, through story, and through personal connection with people along the way, we are journeying 1,100 miles to the tar sands of Alberta – and are asking for your support in our venture.

Greek debt crisis, Troika, Greek anti-austerity movement, IMF, austerity policies

Having spent the last week in Athens talking to ordinary citizens, young and old, as well as current and past officials, I’ve come to the view that this is about far more than just Greece and the euro.

Activists dangling by ropes from the city's tallest bridge, and kayakers on the water below, blocked the icebreaker from heading to the Arctic for a drill operation.

This week, Aaron Draper invites you to see the humanity in the homeless via external flashes and light boxes. Next, Congress is peddling poison and wants to keep you in the DARK.

Samuel DuBose, Ray Tensing, police killings, police brutality, police violence, indicted officers

Prosecutors said officer Ray Tensing “purposely killed” 43-year-old Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man who was pulled over for a missing front license plate.

Sign Up