The U.S. budget is a messy and contentious political process. That fact is greatly exacerbated by the deepening political and ideological divides at work within the country. That may sound defeatist, but maybe, just maybe, the the depth of division coupled with the desire for change means that the time is finally right for the lauded but never-passed bipartisan budget-reform effort, Simpson-Bowles.
The budget agreement, put forth by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles in 2010, was defeated three-times before supporters figured it was time to lay the idea to rest. The duo then tried again in 2013, to the same outcome. Critics have been slamming President Trump’s budget proposal—which stands to add $2 trillion to the debt over the next few years, according to the Tax Policy Center. That’s in addition to the massive cuts to poverty initiatives and health-care funding that have left more economists, policymakers, and business executives trying to formulate better, more sustainable options.
Despite its history of continual defeat, David Cohen a senior executive at Comcast, posited that Simpson-Bowles might be the precise thing that the American economy needs right now. And Cohen apparently isn’t alone. His suggestion that the constantly resurfacing plan might be the way forward was met with large applause and echoes of “that’s exactly right” from members of the audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.