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

carbon emissions, mercury emissions, EPA, Clean Air Act

The Supreme Court invalidated a key Obama administration environmental regulation aimed at limiting emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants.

U.K. fracking, anti-fracking movement, Cuadrilla, shale gas drilling

It's a major blow to what would have been the U.K.’s biggest round of fracking so far.

A yes vote would mean depression almost without end – by contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands.

Fight for $15, $15 minimum wage, bank bailouts, corporate subsidies,

Municipal leaders should be commended for acknowledging the current wage is too low – but phasing in a higher wage over many years is unacceptable in an economy where costs of living are rising and wages are falling.

Fight for $15, $15 minimum wage, bank bailouts, corporate subsidies,

Municipal leaders should be commended for acknowledging the current wage is too low – but phasing in a higher wage over many years is unacceptable in an economy where costs of living are rising and wages are falling.

Posted 1 day 17 hours ago
payday lending, predatory loans, predatory payday lenders, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

America has 30,000 post offices – mostly in lower-income zip codes where bank branches are vanishing and payday lenders spread like toadstools after rain – making a public option for basic financial services a no-brainer.

Posted 6 days 9 hours ago
Move Your Money, Wells Fargo crimes, illegal foreclosure, subprime mortgage lending, predatory loans

The only way the big banks will feel something similar to the loss and harm they caused is if you Move Your Money from those institutions to second tier banks, community banks and credit unions – so join the campaign now.

Posted 5 days 15 hours ago
right-wing extremists, right-wing attacks, jihadists, New America Foundation, War on Terror, Charleston massacre

Right-wing attacks have killed almost twice as many Americans.

Posted 5 days 15 hours ago
Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, single-payer health care, uninsured Americans, right to healthcare

“What the United States should do is join every other major nation and recognize that healthcare is a right of citizenship,” said presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who advocates a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.

Posted 5 days 15 hours ago
payday lending, predatory loans, predatory payday lenders, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

America has 30,000 post offices – mostly in lower-income zip codes where bank branches are vanishing and payday lenders spread like toadstools after rain – making a public option for basic financial services a no-brainer.

Armenia protests, energy hikes

A standoff between police and demonstrators protesting a hike in electricity prices blocked the central avenue in Armenia's capital on Wednesday for a third straight day, with no visible progress toward resolving the unrest.

U.K. fracking, anti-fracking movement, Cuadrilla, shale gas drilling

It's a major blow to what would have been the U.K.’s biggest round of fracking so far.

Move Your Money, Wells Fargo crimes, illegal foreclosure, subprime mortgage lending, predatory loans

The only way the big banks will feel something similar to the loss and harm they caused is if you Move Your Money from those institutions to second tier banks, community banks and credit unions – so join the campaign now.

A yes vote would mean depression almost without end – by contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands.

Sign Up