“I told people in the White House I had spent more time listening to people in the opposition party than they had done as a whole group,” said Erskine Bowles, in an interview the day after he and Republican co-chairman Alan K. Simpson released a proposal for deep spending cuts and broad tax changes touching almost every aspect of the federal budget…

Mr. Bowles said the best hope for improving the political environment for such an ambitious, painful budget plan is to convince people that doing nothing about the federal government’s deficit and debt isn’t an option.

“We just cannot afford to stay on autopilot,” he said, “and I guarantee if they don’t do it now, five years from now when we look back and the crisis is upon us…people will think, ‘How could we have been so foolish?'”…

“I think the problem can be solved without any tax increases, but I’ll do what’s best for the country in the long term,” said Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.). “If all I can get is 90% spending cuts and 10% revenue increases…I’ll go for that.” He added: “The point is that no one’s going to get it all their way.”