Below, you'll find Ross excusing the right for not being too over-the-top in welcoming Bowles-Simpson on the following grounds:
The cuts it proposes don’t even remotely “slash the size of government”; they merely slow its future growth. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, federal revenue has hovered around 18.3 percent of G.D.P. since 1980, breaking 20 percent only during the halcyon days of the dot-com boom. Under Simpson-Bowles, it would stick at 21 percent, a solid 10-15 percent boost over how the American government taxed its citizens in the Reagan and Clinton eras.
The reason I don't believe this holds much water? Because in a fast-aging and increasingly unequal society, given our inherited commitments to the elderly, the sick and the poor, some growth in government is simply unavoidable. What Bowles-Simpson does is get out ahead of this and try to restrain it. Even so, their healthcare proposals essentially require rationing (but not by price) within Medicare. We could probably do better if we reinstituted the perfectly reasonable proposal - struck from the health insurance reform by Palin's dumb-ass demagoguery on death panels - that seniors prepare in advance for the final days of healthcare. But not much better.
I should add that I agree one hundred percent on Ross's evisceration of liberal response to the plan. But I fear that demographics alone all but guarantee that spending will go up in the future. And capping it at 21 percent is in fact the best possible scenario for fiscal conservatives.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.