Former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, co-chairs of Obama's deficit commission, have done all the math and are coming out with their big report soon, and it turns out theydo not think highly of our old chum the deficit. Bowles said it is "like a cancer," which is not nice, because the deficit can hear you, Erskine. It has spent a lot of money on military technology to give itself senses such as hearing and touch, Alvin Greene's favorite. Bowles also said it "will destroy the country from within." Saying the United States is destroying itself and is nearing the end of its empire usually gets a politician in trouble, but Bowles has a plan to cut spending and raise taxes, so Congress will love him and certainly pass it.

The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. "The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans -- the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries," Simpson said.


"We can't grow our way out of this," Bowles said. "We could have decades of double-digit growth and not grow our way out of this enormous debt problem. We can't tax our way out. . . . The reality is we've got to do exactly what you all do every day as governors. We've got to cut spending or increase revenues or do some combination of that."


It is nice that Obama spent money to let these guys speak the truth about what everyone sort of knows about the deficit doom. But Congress tends not to like to cut spending by huge amounts and raising taxes. Especially in an election year, yes, but really all the time.

Still, it is cool to think about! Perhaps Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson can write some fan fic about a Congress slashing the budget permanently and taking out chunks of entitlement programs and defense budgets and such. No, budget-slashing slash fiction. Even better. [WP]


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