Should Republicans put forth Simpson-Bowles for the fiscal cliff?

posted at 7:19 pm on November 30, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

My friend Guy Benson and I were talking about this idea the other night, and I liked it when compared to all our other dismal options. It was also the same night we saw “Lincoln,” so I wondered if we were high on celluloid optimism about what’s possible in politics.

But Guy fleshed out the idea in this must-read post today, and I think he’s onto something. You should go over there to read the whole thing, but here’s the gist:

Of the commission’s 18 members, six Democrats and five Republicans endorsed the final document, while the seven ‘no’ votes split four-to-three along Left/Right ideological lines. Paul Ryan was the most prominent opponent of the plan. The eleven-member ‘yes’ camp was ideologically diverse, ranging from Sen. Tom Coburn on the right to Sen. Dick Durbin on the left. Like many conservatives, I continue to harbor significant concerns about various elements of the plan. I’m troubled by some of the tax provisions, especially the revenue cap at 21 percent of GDP (far higher than the historical average of 18 percent). The defense cuts are also worrisome, as is the fact that despite some cuts and tinkering, Medicare — the largest long-term driver of our debt — escapes a desperately needed overhaul. The framework also assumes the retention of Obamacare, which Paul Ryan has cited as a primary cause of his ‘no’ vote. But here is today’s reality: (1) Unhappy tax news is coming, one way or the other. The president is not budging. (2) The fall election guaranteed that Obamacare is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. (3) Sequestration’s defense cuts would be even more punishing and abrupt than Simpson/Bowles reductions. (4) Democrats have shown themselves to be totally unserious about any reforms or reductions to entitlements. In short, even if the major players manage to hammer out an eleventh-hour deal before January 1, it’s probably going to reek. It will have been negotiated in secret, and will almost certainly be jammed through in a rushed and unsavory fashion. This is no way to govern.

Simpson-Bowles, for all its faults, was conducted in an open and transparent manner and brought disparate political players into a room to forge a serious compromise. It overhauls and streamlines our byzantine tax code, takes some important first steps on entitlements, and reduces and caps federal spending. On substance, I’d wager that it would be considerably better than anything Obama and Boehner might produce after weeks of behind-closed-doors acrimony with the proverbial gun to their heads. Politically, it paints Democrats into a tough corner. Republicans could make a grand show of reluctantly supporting Simpson-Bowles for the betterment of the country. Ideally, the press conference would be led by Paul Ryan, who might explain why he voted against the plan as a commissioner, but is now willing to set aside some of his strong ideological preferences to move the nation forward. They would remind viewers that the proposal they’re now backing only exists because President Obama specifically and publicly asked for it. Plus, more Democrats than Republicans voted for it, including Harry Reid’s top lieutenant in the Senate. Put simply, Simpson-Bowles represents the very embodiment of bipartisan collaboration and problem solving — precisely the sort of thing “moderates,” the media, and the public are always demanding. It would be exceedingly difficult for Democrats to paint the plan as radical or draconian in light of the commission’s origins and participants. The GOP’s “party of no” problem would also be hugely diminished; after all, they would have just signed on to the president’s commission, with the previously recalcitrant Paul Ryan magnanimously leading the way. It would be fascinating to watch the president and his allies try to denounce and reject the very proposal he called for.

There are things I don’t like about Simpson-Bowles, though I’ve never been a hater. I think the country would have benefited if President Obama had ever shown enough leadership to address some of its recommendations, and said so on “The O’Reilly Factor” in January 2011. Despite its faults, it comes closer to reckoning with our real problems than Obama ever has. There are other plans I would like more than Simpson-Bowles. But here’s the thing. Simpson-Bowles is far more responsible than what President Obama is currently offering and probably far better than a slapped together grand bargain made by Obama and Speaker Boehner behind closed doors as a deadline closes in. It was created in a more transparent process, and though it certainly focuses more on revenues vs. spending than I’d like, it gives Republicans some of the trade-offs they’re hoping for in a deal with Obama— some simplification of the tax code, some entitlement reform, a cap on spending as a percentage of GDP.

It is also a fully formed plan with on-the-record bipartisan support and near-universal acceptance as “reasonable” and “sober” by the media and Beltway types. A lot of that is lip service from folks who felt rather certain the plan would never be seriously considered, but it still makes it hard to frame Republicans as obstinate obstructionists when they offer up the plan of none other than Mssrs. Simpson and Bowles. On the other hand, liberals hate it. Paul Krugman:

So, a public service reminder: Simpson-Bowles is terrible. It mucks around with taxes, but is obsessed with lowering marginal rates despite a complete absence of evidence that this is important. It offers nothing on Medicare that isn’t already in the Affordable Care Act. And it raises the Social Security retirement age because life expectancy has risen — completely ignoring the fact that life expectancy has only gone up for the well-off and well-educated, while stagnating or even declining among the people who need the program most.

Cue the Democratic infighting. The president has been avoiding this plan like the plague since his own commission finished it, but it is still his commission. Rejecting it out of hand to allow liberals to continue living in debt denial might be a move so irresponsible as to make even the press notice. Republicans would demonstrate they know the calculus in Washington has changed, but that doesn’t mean they must make a flagrantly irresponsible deal when a more responsible one is available.

This idea got a good reception in the Greenroom, when I half-expected it to get torched, which seems to me an indicator that all-important conservative constituents might not be as opposed to something like this as Republican leaders might think they are. But have at it in the comments, here. I’m anxious to see what y’all think.

In the end, it does seem a more philosophically palatable way to change the course of a very bad political situation. And, in the end, the part that’s really important— I think it’d genuinely be better for the country if something like Simpson-Bowles were to pass instead of us going over the cliff or adopting some terrible deal. Worth a thought.

Exit question (Allahpundit™): Who foretold this? Why, Ed Morrissey, of course.

And, read this great, comprehensive Allahpundit post for a flashback to reaction as Simpson-Bowles was first announced. Pelosi: “Unacceptable.”

Update: In addition to general concerns about the contents of Simpson-Bowles, I should add the very reasonable worry some have voiced in comments at the Greenroom, which is that if you make Simpson-Bowles your opening offer, it just turns into a worse Simpson-Bowles by the time a deal is final. Yep, worries me too. But I think Republicans would certainly be on much more solid negotiating ground touting this plan and saying they’ve done lots of compromising than where they stand now. Thoughts?

Update: Food for thought for the “let it burn” crowd, of which my id is intermittently a member. Howard Dean is, too, because it gives him everything he wants. Yikes.

Update: Please also read Randall Hoven, who did a good, detailed write-up of this idea earlier this week. I had not seen it until it was mentioned in comments, or I would have linked it above.

As it is, Obama can wash his hands of it, saying even the commission itself did not pass it. But if it passes, Obama must own it. If Republican congressmen Paul Ryan, Jeb Hensarling, and Dave Camp would switch their votes, it would be enough to pass that hot potato to the Democrats. They should say, “the people spoke on November 6″ and that they listened to the voice of the American people telling us all to work together, yadda yadda. Then let the Democrats own what comes after.

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offering the President his own commission’s plan has comic value and that’s better than nothing

Slade73 on November 30, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Finally this is getting some attention here!

YES they should! I’ve been saying this since we failed to beat Obama – get behind Simpson-Bowles and dare Obama to block the proposals put forth by his own bipartisan commission. It has tax reform, it has tax hikes, it has spending reform, and it even takes Obamacare into account so there is zero reason for Obama to come out against it.

If/when Obama and the Democrats resist Simpson-Bowels, then the GOP can adopt the let it burn approach, but at least they first got behind a well known, well publicized bi-partisan plan.

Daemonocracy on November 30, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Oh please do it !!!

brewcrew67 on November 30, 2012 at 7:25 PM

I’ll go with no. Vote present on everything that is not more unconstitutional than the rest of it and let them own it.

astonerii on November 30, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Gasoline, fire – some pouring required. If the federal government is ever going to get 21% of GDP, it’s going to be from a vastly-shrunken GDP.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 7:27 PM

yes

reliapundit on November 30, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Gasoline, fire – some pouring required. If the federal government is ever going to get 21% of GDP, it’s going to be from a vastly-shrunken GDP.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Yeah, one of the things I don’t like is that cap is way too high.

Mary Katharine Ham on November 30, 2012 at 7:28 PM

it sounds good to me, but isn’t a little late in the game? Or does this mean that the GOP leadership just gathers together in front of a large presser and bless it?

large bills seem to take a while.

r keller on November 30, 2012 at 7:28 PM

I actually think it’s a brilliant idea.

Pass Simpson-Bowles in the House, and let Obama and the Democrats kill it.

I actually think conservatives made a mistake dismissing it out of hand.

Reforming entitlements is HARD, if you can get real concessions with teeth, I’m willing to take a tax increase.

What I’m not willing to do is have tax increases for the “promise” of cuts. I want structural changes in entitlements.

BradTank on November 30, 2012 at 7:29 PM

It doesn’t solve the problem. Ryan was right, it didn’t go far enough. If President Obama wants to play hard-ball we should at least offer a Revenue-Neutral Across-the-board tax cut with cuts to liberal programs as our first counter-offer.

DeathtotheSwiss on November 30, 2012 at 7:29 PM

No. Let it BURN!

wildcat72 on November 30, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Update: In addition to general concerns about the contents of Simpson-Bowles, I should add the very reasonable worry some have voiced in comments at the Greenroom, which is that if you make Simpson-Bowles your opening offer, it just turns into a worse Simpson-Bowles by the time a deal is final. Yep, worries me too. But I think Republicans would certainly be on much more solid negotiating ground touting this plan and saying they’ve done lots of compromising than where they stand now. Thoughts?

Given Obama went from “kill the Bush tax rates on the top 2% for some vague spending cuts” to “take twice as much from the top 2% as just killing the Bush tax rates for some vague spending cuts” to “take twice as much from the top 2% for even more spending”, I say resurrect Ryan’s Roadmap, 2008 version.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 7:30 PM

it sounds good to me, but isn’t a little late in the game? Or does this mean that the GOP leadership just gathers together in front of a large presser and bless it?

large bills seem to take a while.

r keller on November 30, 2012 at 7:28 PM

The thing is, if they were to make any kind of grand bargain, it’d be a less vetted, less structured one than this, which would likely be worse for conservatives in its outcome. The beauty of this is it actually brings a puzzle piece that’s currently missing. “Hey, I notice the press and the president are clamoring for a grand bargain, but it’s hard to craft one of those behind closed doors in a short period of time. This one might work.” So, you actually kind of minimize the work compared to what Boehner and Obama might try for as it stands.

Mary Katharine Ham on November 30, 2012 at 7:31 PM

the Dems won’t go for it. This is just good for a laugh, then – go cliff diving

Slade73 on November 30, 2012 at 7:33 PM

given that we lost an election that WE widely touted as The Most Important…etc. etc…and Rove’s thing is CrossRoads after all…I think that modesty is important…Bowle Simpsons sounds good to me.

the cap? well, everything is going to be squeezed thru the boomers anyway…I don’t see how a cap can be real…unless we slash current boomers over 55…

r keller on November 30, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Pass it in the House and then adjourn.

Do not negotiate with Obama. Negotiate only with Reid and the Senate. Do not bring the House back into session until the Senate has passed a bill. Then proceed with the conference and the usual process.

Ignore Obama.

If the Senate does nothing, go over the fiscal cliff.

Revenant on November 30, 2012 at 7:34 PM

it sounds good to me, but isn’t a little late in the game? Or does this mean that the GOP leadership just gathers together in front of a large presser and bless it?

large bills seem to take a while.

r keller on November 30, 2012 at 7:28 PM

It’s not too late because a year ago neither party wanted to do anything because of the upcoming election. Now is the perfect time to attach the GOP plan to Simpson-Bowles and make it a choice between the proposals of Obama’s own bipartisan commission, or sequestration with across the board tax hikes. Your move Obama.

Daemonocracy on November 30, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Republicans don’t have any leverage.

The only leverage they have is to vote present and let Democrats have everything they want.

Any other pursuit leaves Republicans holding the bag and that is one outcome that cannot be permitted.

hisfrogness on November 30, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Mary Katharine Ham on November 30, 2012 at 7:31 PM

i agree conceptually…i just don’t know the mechanics. I.e. Rs get a large presser…and say this is what we want.

Obama says, so? that’s fine, but i’m not budging on my 1.6T by the 31st of Dec….we can ‘talk’ about B-S next year

Unless there can be a quick write up and pass…that would be cute

r keller on November 30, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Seems too late/desperate to me. Should have done it in September to show Obama for what he is before the election.

besser tot als rot on November 30, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Any other pursuit leaves Republicans holding the bag and that is one outcome that cannot be permitted.

hisfrogness on November 30, 2012 at 7:40 PM

hogwash

Pubs will hold the bag no matter what

Slade73 on November 30, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Seems too late/desperate to me. Should have done it in September to show Obama for what he is before the election.

besser tot als rot on November 30, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Some of these people who pull out year old quotes may even be able to find where I said so at the time.

besser tot als rot on November 30, 2012 at 7:44 PM

The key is not to make Simpson Bowles an opening offer to be negotiated away from. The plan they developed is a complete framework for a debt deal, which is exactly what we need with less than a a month until the bomb hits.

Republicans should start the mantra of SB and never waver from it.

thuljunior on November 30, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Republicans don’t have any leverage.

The only leverage they have is to vote present and let Democrats have everything they want.

Any other pursuit leaves Republicans holding the bag and that is one outcome that cannot be permitted.

hisfrogness on November 30, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Simply doing nothing will hurt the GOP agenda more than ever. These closed door negotiations will not only fail, but will allow Obama and the media to accuse the GOP of being obstructionists. Simpson-Bowles is well known, supporting it will energize both of its authors all over TV pushing for its passage, and has a history of more Democrats supporting it than Republicans. If Republicans are going to serve up anything that will get noticed, this is it. If Obama blocks it, then we go cliff diving, but he will have some explaining to do as to exactly why he opposes his own commissions proposals when even Paul Ryan now supports it.

Daemonocracy on November 30, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Pubs will hold the bag no matter what

Slade73 on November 30, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Not if they vote present. It’s a tough pill to swallow but a united party voting present will, I think anyway, be the only option to wash our hands of these ruinous policies.

At least I fail to see how giving them what they want leaves us responsible to answer for any of it. These were laws that were drafted and voted on by Democrats.

hisfrogness on November 30, 2012 at 7:47 PM

hogwash
Pubs will hold the bag no matter what

Slade73 on November 30, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Maybe. But that strategy makes provides the least likelihood of GOP blame for Obama caused catastrophe.

besser tot als rot on November 30, 2012 at 7:47 PM

No. That’s small ball. What they should be doing is reading up on some history. This is all nonsense. I know germany references are politically incorrect. I’m not suggesting anything of the sort, that this could lead to that on any other level than money and power. What I would be asking is how do you stop a power hungry cabal that doesn’t give a crap about destroying everything to take over everything. Late 1930′s style.

All this is a fart in a hurricane.

Look at the numbers. Gonna fix that for Christmas?

Get ready folks. LiB? You don’t have to wish for it. The more I figure it out the less I wish I had.

Simpson bowles?? We are effed. When the enormanty of it hits you,, you realize it’s one piece of a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a blackhole.

Look at it like this,,, scrambling for life preservers, and thier aren’t enough.

wolly4321 on November 30, 2012 at 7:48 PM

The R;s should offer nothing and tell everybody they offered everything.

good for the goose.

tygart on November 30, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Pass it in the House and then adjourn.

Do not negotiate with Obama. Negotiate only with Reid and the Senate. Do not bring the House back into session until the Senate has passed a bill. Then proceed with the conference and the usual process.

Ignore Obama.

If the Senate does nothing, go over the fiscal cliff.

Revenant on November 30, 2012 at 7:34 PM

I feel like this could work. I just wonder how realistic we’re being.

After the Fiscal Cliff, do you think the Senate Democrats might get desperate enough to sign anything that comes out of the House?

DeathtotheSwiss on November 30, 2012 at 7:49 PM

besser tot als rot on November 30, 2012 at 7:41 PM

nervous huh?

the other BIG advantage of S-B is we all NEED to rally around something because the itchy fingers are out….Carbon Taxes, VAT, 401Ks, etc. etc.

and we need to squelch these things. Lefty dream of VAT-type taxes in their fevered swamps. What a beautiful system…up a couple of notch, down a couple of notches…a veritable Economic Thermostat…with the $$$$$$$$$$$$ flowing in. Like Obama says…Heaven on Earth…Systematic Redistribution…mmmmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmmm

r keller on November 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM

As I said in the Greenroom, I think it’s a horrible idea.

Which makes it about 1000 times better than any other idea I’ve heard so far, or any 11th-hour plan Boehner and Obama are likely to negotiate.

I’m on board.

Ugh. First I voted for Romney and now this. Where’s my RINO badge?

Chris of Rights on November 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Grover Norcapone would not approve. Most of GOP in congress are his subjects and bound by his protection racket. They won’t go for S-B.

lester on November 30, 2012 at 7:53 PM

offering the President his own commission’s plan has comic value and that’s better than nothing

I like it. Plus it makes it very hard for the media to go ahead with the narrative they are already itching to use.

MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 7:54 PM

the reality is our party can’t put a face on someone strongly opposing anything the democarts do. they have the bamster. who do we have with the cojones to put their principles on the line?

so if it burns or crashes the democrats have a reason to blame.

we need a game change.

renalin on November 30, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Ugh. First I voted for Romney and now this. Where’s my RINO badge?

Chris of Rights on November 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM

You don’t want to know.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Best option yet. Let Obama try to blame us for passing his commission’s plan.

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 7:55 PM

S-B sounds like it could work in the repubs favour, there are elements that really suck, but from a strategic point, it could help repubs in the long run.

What O has offered so far is so bad, I also say L.i.B. but if S-B gives us a chance any chance with a show of hands, get the media off their backs and dump S-B right in the dems laps, and let them hash it out, I am game…

Scrumpy on November 30, 2012 at 7:55 PM

It’s like voting “present” without giving the feeling of turning their backs.

MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Should Republicans put forth Simpson-Bowles for the fiscal cliff?

Yes.

Simpson-Bowles was drafted over time not with some countdown clock ticking on every major news outlet. It is thoughtful and does not favor a political party who just won based on the idea that free stuff is the way to stay in power. And it responsibly combines tax hikes with entitlement cuts.

It isn’t perfect but it is far better than anything that will be crafted in the next four weeks. Let’s do this! Let’s get behind this idea.

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 7:55 PM

I like it. Plus it makes it very hard for the media to go ahead with the narrative they are already itching to use.

MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 7:54 PM

If you believe that, I have a bridge roller coaster on off the Jersey shore to sell you. If the Obama Presstitute Organs won’t mention that each successive SCOAMF “offer” has been more and more ridiculous, what makes you think they’ll tell the truth about his and Dingy Harry’s pending rejection of Simpson-Bowles?

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Grover Norcapone would not approve. Most of GOP in congress are his subjects and bound by his protection racket. They won’t go for S-B.

lester on November 30, 2012 at 7:53 PM

too late for that. the gop should have gone along with it the last time it was offered.

the terms have changed since then, as i’m sure you’ll understand.

sesquipedalian on November 30, 2012 at 5:41 PM

The resident trolls think it’s a bad idea, which makes it a good idea.

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Here’s some thoughts expanded in the Greenroom…

1. I don’t see this as a negotiating tactic. It’s the final offer. Take SB or go over the cliff. It’s a win-win for the Rs as it covers them in the bipartisan cloak of SB.
2. It’s incredibly specific. One thing that tripped the Rs, especially Ryan up, was the vagueness of Romney’s tax plan. You could see the Rs be able to explain how the tax reforms benefit a middle class family on the Sunday shows.
3. GB is right that Ryan will have to be the one to propose it, which will be a huge test for him. Ryan would very much like to be President and ha cannot remain pure if he’d like to win. He might get some flack in the primaries for doing it, but I cannot see his main rivals hitting him on this. Thosr who might are too tainted/ unappealing to win the primaries.

Illinidiva on November 30, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Republicans should start the mantra of SB and never waver from it.

thuljunior on November 30, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Yep. It’s totally inclusive and removes the whole Republicans are only protecting rich people thing (which is a red herring anyway).

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 8:05 PM

This idea is so great, I recommended exactly the same thing 4 days ago, in writing, in public. Perhaps some of you might want to read it.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/learning_to_love_simpson-bowles.html

Randall Hoven on November 30, 2012 at 8:05 PM

“I was born in a briar patch…”

Simpson Bowles slaughters the home mortgage deduction and gives home sellers no relief from taxes when they sell their homes (right now the first 250K/500K for singles/couples are tax free).

So go ahead, destroy home ownership forever.

Its no better idea than some of the current dumbass ideas floating around.

Best idea – give him his tax hike on everything over 250K and fight him on the debt ceiling next year. Make permanent all the tax cuts below 250K, and index them to inflation. Then fight it out next year…

deadite on November 30, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I don’t see this as a negotiating tactic. It’s the final offer. Take SB or go over the cliff.

Illinidiva on November 30, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Absolutely!

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Republicans should insist on a freeze in spending. When the Democrats insist they are cuts, the American people will finally understand there are never any cuts because the baseline is programmed to grow every year.

Nexialist on November 30, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Ugh. First I voted for Romney and now this. Where’s my RINO badge?

Chris of Rights on November 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM

You don’t want to know.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 7:55 PM

That’s not a badge. But it sure does hurt.

Chris of Rights on November 30, 2012 at 8:06 PM

we need a game change.

renalin on November 30, 2012 at 7:54 PM

that’s exactly right. We’ve all been through this before.

I would like to think that the priority right now should be that, no matter what, above all else, you will not pin this shit on us.

Republicans abandoned small government a while ago and perhaps we’re paying the price for that now but, nevertheless, it’s Democratic policies that got us into this debt Armageddon, it’s Democratic policies that are going to ruin America for the long term and we’re going to sit here and just let the Democrat party and media turn it all on us? AYFKM?

Enough is enough man. All of these negotiating tactics are not going to extricate Republicans from the media’s projection of us as the antagonist. That will never happen. Ever.

A game change is to say “Fine. Do it your way. It will lead to disaster but that’s what Americans want. These taxes are going to ruin our economy and destroy our middle-class so don’t say nobody warned you. This is your official warning. Perhaps when this is all said and done American’s will have learned the valuable lesson that socialism is a poor choice for organizing a society.”….err something like that.

hisfrogness on November 30, 2012 at 8:08 PM

The best part of passing SB is that if (WHEN) the economy tanks, it will be because of an Obama originated plan along with the rest of his incompetent actions. I was in the “over the cliff” camp but this would be an amusing and possibly beneficial alternative. I wouldn’t stop buying bullets though.

Not worried about the Obamacare portion. Unless the states cave or the House lets Obama rewrite it, it will implode on it’s own in short order.

LarryinLA on November 30, 2012 at 8:09 PM

PS – I don’t fear the cuts to the military or the other “disasters”. I’ve worked with some of the big military companies. Their projects cost 5 times as much as the equivalent civilian projects.

Let it burn.

deadite on November 30, 2012 at 8:09 PM

How about the Republicans offer up the spending cuts part of Simpson-Bowles in exchange for the Bush rates being made permanent? If memory and math serve, the $3 trillion in “deficit reduction” it would cover dwarfs Obama’s $1.6 trillion in tax hikes and $400 billion in future spending “cuts” (and that’s ignoring the immediate spending hikes that will swallow the future “cuts” whole).

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 8:10 PM

When the Democrats insist they are cuts, the American people will finally understand there are never any cuts because the baseline is programmed to grow every year.

Nexialist on November 30, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Even with the economy is not. Why move to automatic increases in budgets that doesn’t reflect the Obama economy?

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 8:10 PM

If we negotiate some middle-of-the-road compromise that doesn’t put this country on the right track but only marginally decelerates the decline, Democrats and the media will successfully convince Americans that this is all the fault of capitalism and lack of regulation.

The time for being Charlie Brown is over.

hisfrogness on November 30, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Grover Norcapone would not approve. Most of GOP in congress are his subjects and bound by his protection racket. They won’t go for S-B.

lester on November 30, 2012 at 7:53 PM

You mean Obama would not approve. He wants to go over the cliff, just as Howard Dean does. You are going to have to come to grips with the fact that your messiah really doesn’t care anything about this country or the people in it, especially you useful idiots. He cares about HIS free stuff and cutting us down to size. It must be sad to live vicariously through Obama’s 4 million dollar vacations and all the parties you aren’t invited to.

Night Owl on November 30, 2012 at 8:14 PM

If you believe that, I have a bridge roller coaster on off the Jersey shore to sell you. If the Obama Presstitute Organs won’t mention that each successive SCOAMF “offer” has been more and more ridiculous, what makes you think they’ll tell the truth about his and Dingy Harry’s pending rejection of Simpson-Bowles?

They would need to do mind bending contortions to explain why the president voting down his own commission is the fault of republicans. Oh they will try, but it will be seen as the media equivalent of Dateline blowing up gas tanks.

MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 8:15 PM

This idea is so great, I recommended exactly the same thing 4 days ago, in writing, in public. Perhaps some of you might want to read it.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/learning_to_love_simpson-bowles.html

Randall Hoven on November 30, 2012 at 8:05 PM

pffft, yeah but who reads that rag. Now the idea is on HotGas! j/k

MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 8:18 PM

They would need to do mind bending contortions to explain why the president voting down his own commission is the fault of republicans. Oh they will try, but it will be seen as the media equivalent of Dateline blowing up gas tanks.

MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 8:15 PM

They already did that. Romney tried hitting Obama on running away from Simpson-Bowles, but unless you watched the debates, you didn’t know that.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 8:18 PM

deadite It’s my understanding that SB limits the mortgage deduction. Wealthier individuals would not get the deduction; it would go away on second homes, and there would be a limit on how much you could deduct. The mortgage interest deduction really distorted the housing market and led people to get more house than they could afford. The limits on deductions wouldn’t really hurt the middle class who live within their means, but it would affect the “white people” liberal set that live in cities and are huge gov’t moochers and really cut off the whole Buffet argument.

Illinidiva on November 30, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Yeah they could easily explain away Obama abandoning his own commission’s recommendations.

Obama didn’t follow their advice when they gave it, why would he now?

Th S-B recommendations are just the same old failed policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

Obama’s “evolved” on the issue

It’s not like the 54 million that voted for him understand any of this anyway. They don’t follow the news. Just come up with some snappy, snarky headline on Yahoo News that people can retweet. Mission Accomplished.

hisfrogness on November 30, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Simpson Bowles slaughters the home mortgage deduction and gives home sellers no relief from taxes when they sell their homes (right now the first 250K/500K for singles/couples are tax free).

So go ahead, destroy home ownership forever.

As a homeowner, I want my deduction. But as a conservative I should not. It is the very thing we are supposed to hate. The government using the tax code to manipulate us. Why are you rewarded for buying a home rather than renting? The government has no business putting incentives into that decision.

MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 8:23 PM

They already did that. Romney tried hitting Obama on running away from Simpson-Bowles, but unless you watched the debates, you didn’t know that.

Romney talking economics only reminded the plebs that he was rich and thus ‘evil’. And the low information voters aren’t following any of this anyway. The higher information voters will not find the attempts at spin to be that amusing.

MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 8:29 PM

This idea is so great, I recommended exactly the same thing 4 days ago, in writing, in public. Perhaps some of you might want to read it.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/learning_to_love_simpson-bowles.html

Randall Hoven on November 30, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Good article! Are you a regular columnist with them?

Night Owl on November 30, 2012 at 8:29 PM

One added benefit is that you would have Simpson and Bowles themselves all over TV hounding Democrats to get on board.

Mark1971 on November 30, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Romney actually didn’t embrace SB and Ryan voted against it. It is hard for Romney to hit Obama on SB when he himself didn’t embrace. Romney perhaps should have embraced SB in either his convwntion speech or after the first debate. It would have provided him with a concrete plan which he was lacking. This is also why GB basically pointed Ryan has to be the spokesperson for any SB push by the Rs. If honey wants to be President, he has to compromise on this.

Illinidiva on November 30, 2012 at 8:32 PM

How about the Republicans offer up the spending cuts part of Simpson-Bowles in exchange for the Bush rates being made permanent?

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 8:10 PM

The problem is that you’re trying to fight an economic battle while Obama is trying to fight a political battle. Any back and forth negotiations will be a PR loser for us with the palace guard media. The idea that Republicans passed Obama’s own debt commission plan is something even Obama’s coalition of mouth-breathing neanderthals can easily understand.

S-B is the best we’re going to do, with a possible exception of voting present in the House and letting them pass their own bill (which I’m not sure is even parliamentary possible?)

The offer should be S-B, unchanged, final offer. Reid can kill it or send it over to President Dipsh!t. They probably won’t take it, but at least if they do, we get a better deal than the cliff, and it technically was Obama’s plan in the first place.

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 8:36 PM

On second thought, Simpson Bowles while laudable in some aspects, still keeps in place Obamacare and raises investment and gasoline taxes. Not to mention it raises payroll taxes as the primary means to reform the entitlements. Corporate taxes are not cut enough in this plan to make up for the big increase in investment taxes.

There is going to be a debt deal by New Year’s no doubt. I think big reform should be held off until the next president frankly. I think we should just negotiate a rise in the debt to go beyond Obama and give in on the tax increase without raising rates or a temporary increase in rates that can easily be done away with when a GOP president comes on board. Nothing is permanent and we need to look at all this as transitory. At some point the American people must realize that big government is not the answer and that free markets need to be unshackled to keep the US the powerhouse it must be to stay ahead.

milemarker2020 on November 30, 2012 at 8:39 PM

not a bad idea….dems won’t budge

cmsinaz on November 30, 2012 at 8:42 PM

NO… Start at something that is a real fiscally prudent goal, instead of the half measures of Simpson-Bowles – a starting point for negotiations would be

1 – Cut all non-soc security spending to 1998 levels, adjusted for population and inflation

2 – Fix AMT (inflate original 1969 level at 1/2 of inflation until today) and index for inflation moving forward

3 – Move top tax rate to $1 million of earned income – w/ marginal rate at Clinton Rate (this is above what small business owners should see- and they can work around while benefiting investment as seen below)

4 – Move next highest tax rate to $250k per individual – otherwise why should the government be paying any employee (other than the president) an amount that would be taxed at a rate that is above that of the typical tax payer

5 – Cut Corporate tax rate from 34% to 15% (while eliminating the convoluted Bush era ‘production based’ 9% offset) and sunset double-declining depreciation/MACRS to straight line over 4 years
- this puts the USA at par with the rest of the world, especially Canada
- Small business owners with profits over $1 million would be encouraged to switch to C-corps, where the profits could be maintained for re-investment or dividend out after a year at 15% cap gains rate
- large businesses would have greater capital reserves which would allow them to weather future downturns will smaller layoff
- eliminates our perverse incentive for corporations to move operations/profits overseas

phreshone on November 30, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Obamacare will undo Obamacare. The exchanges aren’t going to be ready by 2014 and it is going tobe a huge issue. Corporations are going to start dropping people from coverage. Young singles are going to learn about the fun new tax they have to pay.

Illinidiva on November 30, 2012 at 8:47 PM

If the republicans really wanted to screw the dems with this tactic, they’d not only go with Simpson-Bowles, they’d offer it with an even higher tax rate on the wealthiest and investment income than the dems have asked for.

Of course it will blow up, but we’ll have given them everything they asked for. More, even.

trigon on November 30, 2012 at 8:49 PM

How about going with Gramm-Rudman-Hollings?

Mark1971 on November 30, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Illinidiva on November 30, 2012 at 8:22 PM

You are correct – I was wrong. http://www.thepoliticalguide.com/Issues/Simpson-Bowles/

Let loose the dogs!

Its not perfect – but I could live with it. And I do agree with the comment from MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 8:23 PM – its time for the government to stop tweaking our behavior.

Next time I won’t believe the first description google throws up. After all, it was throw up.

deadite on November 30, 2012 at 8:52 PM

The problem is that you’re trying to fight an economic battle while Obama is trying to fight a political battle. Any back and forth negotiations will be a PR loser for us with the palace guard media. The idea that Republicans passed Obama’s own debt commission plan is something even Obama’s coalition of mouth-breathing neanderthals can easily understand.

S-B is the best we’re going to do, with a possible exception of voting present in the House and letting them pass their own bill (which I’m not sure is even parliamentary possible?)

The offer should be S-B, unchanged, final offer. Reid can kill it or send it over to President Dipsh!t. They probably won’t take it, but at least if they do, we get a better deal than the cliff, and it technically was Obama’s plan in the first place.

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 8:36 PM

In other words, surrender? That worked soooooo well for GHWB.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 8:55 PM

And here I misread it as ‘Should Republicans put forward Simpson-Bowles over the fiscal cliff?’ and was, like, Yeah, do it!

Sadly, it was just Republicans being Republicans… not putting a couple of stooges over the cliff first.

ajacksonian on November 30, 2012 at 8:55 PM

NO… Start at something that is a real fiscally prudent goal

phreshone on November 30, 2012 at 8:46 PM

I’m not trying to be rude, but Democrats are not here to negotiate. You’ll get none of that. They’re here to destroy this place and through their media arm, the media, implicate us for the destruction.

The cliff gives them the opportunity to get the tax hikes out of the middle class that they need and pay no political price for it. You think they’re going to give that up for your sensible ideas? This is the opportunity of a lifetime for them.

We need to stop trying to fight propaganda wars with sensible solutions. Until we learn to get more Machiavellian with how we handle these a-holes, expect to lose more elections and more of your liberty and property in the process.

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 9:05 PM

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 8:36 PM

If you want to go the “present” route, it’s a majority of those present, and a quorum is 218. All Boehner needs to do is schedule the vote and tell some of his caucus to stay home that day.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 9:07 PM

In other words, surrender? That worked soooooo well for GHWB.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Remember when we were all laughing that Obama was going to get reelected on Binders and Big Bird? Yeah.

Until we learn to fight dirty and outfox their propaganda machine with cynical maneuvering, prepare to lose more and more elections.

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 9:11 PM

They would need to do mind bending contortions to explain why the president voting down his own commission is the fault of republicans. Oh they will try, but it will be seen as the media equivalent of Dateline blowing up gas tanks.

MechanicalBill on November 30, 2012 at 8:15 PM

+100 Own it D-Rats!

HellCat on November 30, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Let’s see, Republicans would rather take away your mortgage interest deduction than raise taxes on the 2 per cent. Nope, no way the Democrats could use that!

El Cabong on November 30, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Remember when we were all laughing that Obama was going to get reelected on Binders and Big Bird? Yeah.

Until we learn to fight dirty and outfox their propaganda machine with cynical maneuvering, prepare to lose more and more elections.

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 9:11 PM

That’s why you fight on a different plane. The GOP can’t win on the “Tax The Rich” plane you want them to fight on because all the ‘Rats have to do is say “MOAR!!!1!1!!!!!elevenTy!!@!#” In fact, they already did.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Ugh. First I voted for Romney and now this. Where’s my RINO badge?

Chris of Rights on November 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Yeah, that is about where I am too. :(

@Steve Egg…
Romney did bring up S-B in the debates…But I think it would have more impact if the bill were passed and sent to the Senate, and let the Dems kill it.

But the House should pass and adjourn….and then come back for the conference.

MityMaxx on November 30, 2012 at 9:22 PM

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 9:05 PM

I fully understand they’re not going to negotiate… It’s time for Republicans to go backwards(re-trading), just like Obama is doing… So they might as well put a strong, extremely conservative, solution on the table, (though 95% of Rep. congressmen don’t understand that a cut in corporate tax rates are paid for by increased capital gains for at least 3 years, by which time corporate earnings growth will allow tax revenues from corporattions to exceed the pre-cut levels)

—- then play hardball… SHUT THE MOTHER DOWN… how many times did Reagan let the government shut down… no more debt ceiling hikes… since Obama has eliminated the need for the House in budgeting process for another decade due to the 40% increase in spending levels in 2009 supplement… make him pay for it by either negotiating a balanced budget or cutting departments by closing them down… social security will still get paid…

phreshone on November 30, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Obama is fighting on the Populist plain at this time….
And the republicans are stuck on the Logical/Political plain.
And in this atmosphere, that is a guaranteed loser.

MityMaxx on November 30, 2012 at 9:23 PM

The key is to offer Simpson-Bowles kind of late in the process so they have less time to water it down.

The Republicans need some sort of cover if there is no deal. I suggested yesterday offering to raise taxes on the rich. However, this idea also offers good cover.

My major problem with Simpson-Bowles was that it was just a drop in the bucket. We need something 5-10 times stronger. Its simply a bandaid that will quickly be overwhelmed by the bleeding in a few years. With that said, I guarantee you its better thern anything Boehner-McConnell would negotiate with Obama.

Since I don’t see the Dems accepting anyway, its main purpose would be cover for the repubs.

I say offer it late.

KMav on November 30, 2012 at 9:28 PM

i’ve refreshed my memory on S-B. pretty strong take hikes, esp for the top quintile…Takes an ax to SS for high income people by 2040,

caps discretionary spending

left (the nation, Roosevelt institute doesn’t like it)..since they just want the $$$$$$$$

it is tough medicine…lose lots of deduction in trade for somewhat reduced rates(for some people)

All but the lowest quintile have less money. Barry should be happy to sign this, because the left (think progress) thinks a lot of the spening cuts have already happened…so roll the $$$$$$$ in please

lots of beltway types like this..so i assume they don’t see a lot of pain in Their Pocket…still plenty of room for graft…running the country…

at this point i still think it is fine…but there’s pain for the makers

and maybe that’s ok. i think we are in for a long era of slow/no growth anyway…the deficit is threatening…and productivity is largely going to be flat anyway so we can’t ‘grow’ our way out

the country is transforming itself anyway…booms end

And that’s ok too…If we can live Free…

r keller on November 30, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Right. Let’s listen to two losers.

BullShooterAsInElk on November 30, 2012 at 9:54 PM

Pass it as-is, take-it-or-leave-it.Immediately getSimpson and Bowles on every Sunday morning show to explain it and how it is “balanced”. This is clearly calling Obama’s bluff.

Tater Salad on November 30, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Exit question (Allahpundit™)

™ ??? Capitalist!

KS Rex on November 30, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Grover Norcapone would not approve. Most of GOP in congress are his subjects and bound by his protection racket. They won’t go for S-B.

lester on November 30, 2012 at 7:53 PM

too late for that. the gop should have gone along with it the last time it was offered.

the terms have changed since then, as i’m sure you’ll understand.

sesquipedalian on November 30, 2012 at 5:41 PM

The resident trolls think it’s a bad idea, which makes it a good idea.

The Count on November 30, 2012 at 7:58 PM

…they’re just having their regular Bowel movement!

KOOLAID2 on November 30, 2012 at 10:20 PM

The media will decide who “owns” the cliff dive, free fall, and subsequent crash. Win by A) neutralizing the media and B) making it all but impossible to pin the now-unavoidable pain on Republicans. In the metaphorical tug-of-war, stand tall and let go of the rope.

MT on November 30, 2012 at 10:42 PM

I say pass it, leave town, and tell everyone they passed “the Presidents plan”.

Tater Salad on November 30, 2012 at 10:45 PM

The American people want a compromise solution that is fully fleshed out and vetted. No one’s coming out with anything new in a few weeks. Bowles-Simpson is the only plan that meets these criteria. The only plan. There is nothing else.

If the Dems reject it and go off the cliff, they will truly own it. In fact, it’s the only way to make the Dems truly own it, as we would take the blame for just letting it burn. You know what? I bet lots of Dem Senators would sign onto to it too. There are plenty of Susan Estrich Dems who never wanted big tax increases. The tony regions of Connecticut and New York are probably already even putting out feelers to their congressmen already to cool it with the class warfare. Chuck Schumer has even balked at full on punitive taxation. A big capital gains tax hike would kill his donors. And I have to believe that there at least some Dems somewhere who believe in government so much that they don’t want it to go bankrupt.

xuyee on November 30, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Actually, it may be a good chance to drive a wedge between the social libs (like Estrich) and the redistributionists. The Dems are ultimately a fragile coalition. At a recent business meeting, a gay business partner of mine looked really uncomfortable when discussing the fleecing we were about to take on taxes. He may be gay, but his loves his cars.

xuyee on November 30, 2012 at 10:53 PM

I like the idea of doing things in regular order. Pass SB in the house and see if the Senate passes something to go to conference with. The president is off the stage; Harry Reid is on it and he doesn’t sell well. Will he go obstructionist? I expect he will ignore it because he likes the sequester and end of the Bush tax cuts and then the Dems own the failure. A conference committee has a more even number of players. Obama will get a yes or no decision, he won’t get to dictate the bill details like he thinks he is doing presently.

Win or lose, the GOP can say it stood by its promise to fiscal responsibility and will set up the 2014 election as one for fiscal sanity versus fiscal insanity rather than the 2% versus the 98% which is how it is playing out now.

KW64 on November 30, 2012 at 11:00 PM

The American people want a compromise solution that is fully fleshed out and vetted. No one’s coming out with anything new in a few weeks. Bowles-Simpson is the only plan that meets these criteria. The only plan. There is nothing else.

Very much agreed. The great thing about Simpson and Bowles is along with having Simpson and Bowles on every talk show on the weekend; it is also easy for the Rs to explain what the plan would entail. Ryan could probably take something like the plan apart and mention piece by piece what it would entail. You could almost see Ryan trying to keep from getting frustrated when he had to explain Romney’s vague, non-plan. Probably a huge strategic error for Romney to not endorse a modified form of Simpson Bowles during the campaign or go full throttle with the Ryan budget.

The tony regions of Connecticut and New York are probably already even putting out feelers to their congressmen already to cool it with the class warfare.

The ironic thing is that the sort of tax reform being talked about would still take a huge bite out of the “white people” urban elite set. One of the huge things in Simpson Bowles is capping and reducing deductions on things like mortgage interest and eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes, which affects blue states and urban markets more.

Illinidiva on November 30, 2012 at 11:50 PM

As it is, Obama can wash his hands of it, saying even the commission itself did not pass it. But if it passes, Obama must own it. If Republican congressmen Paul Ryan, Jeb Hensarling, and Dave Camp would switch their votes, it would be enough to pass that hot potato to the Democrats. They should say, “the people spoke on November 6″ and that they listened to the voice of the American people telling us all to work together, yadda yadda. Then let the Democrats own what comes after.

Responses like this make me laugh. We haven’t made Obama own anything in 4 years, but if we just cave this way, or cave that way, we will magically make him own whatever fallout there is this time, lol. Hard to believe there are still people this naive out there.

xblade on December 1, 2012 at 12:06 AM

The answer is NO Simpson Bolls
If Obama will not take out tax increases then go over the cliff. Whatever happens will happen regardless and Republicans will be blamed no matter what.
Republicans hold the power of the purse. I

Stop spending. Stop all government pay increases except for military personnel.
Cut the government workers by 10%
Hold funding of all government programs across the board by 10%
Refuse to appropriate another dime for any new programs
Cut all funding to all middle eastern countries with the exception of Israel.
Make bush tax relief permanent. Stay away from the AMT
Give taxpayers and hard working men and women a break.
Allow food stamps and other government assistance a cap of 6 months max
No more appreciation of funds for outside committees assigned to do the work we pay Congress to do.
If Obama wants to go over the cliff so be it. If he attempts to circumvent Congress, Impeach the son of a B
I am tired of being walked on and do not want to give in to Socialism without a huge fight!

Delsa on December 1, 2012 at 12:50 AM

I meant to say cut government programs by 10%
I am angry and tired

Delsa on December 1, 2012 at 12:52 AM

Gasoline, fire – some pouring required. If the federal government is ever going to get 21% of GDP, it’s going to be from a vastly-shrunken GDP.

Steve Eggleston on November 30, 2012 at 7:27 PM

I think that your numbers may be off.

The GDP is what, $15.5 Trillion? That means that 10% = 1.55 Trillion. 21% = $3.25 Trillion. The current budget is what, $3.8 Trillion? That will immediately trim $550 Billion off of the budget. That sounds great to me. :) :) :)

Theophile on December 1, 2012 at 12:59 AM

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