I've quickly scanned the Simpson-Bowles draft proposal and find it extremely encouraging. It really does hit what the Dish regards as key themes for a new fiscal order: 1986-style tax reform (largely removing deductions and lowering rates); serious defense retrenchment; focusing social security on the truly needy and raising the retirement age; hard cost-controls in Medicare; a real populist attack on government waste.
It reads like the manifesto the Tea Party never published. Every detail needs thinking through and debate. Much of it is way over my head in terms of the specifics of government programs and the ability to cut them. But the core proposal is honest, real, and vital. I recommend you download and read both documents.
If I were the president, I would embrace this and urge passage of these proposals as the key domestic objective of his next two years in office. If I were the GOP, intent not on politics but on restraining spending and the debt, I would make this a joint endeavor. If I were the Tea Party, I would leap at this as a way past the old two parties toward fiscal sanity.
I am merely a blogger. But the Dish will follow this debate with all the passion that true fiscal conservatives can muster. And, no, that's not ironic. The debt is not a boring issue. It's a profound moral issue - and our current profligacy and partisanship is a disgraceful breach of a core social contract between this generation and the next ones. This matters. And it could be one of Obama's core legacies, if he seizes this opportunity and makes it his simple unifying message for the next two years: ending long-term debt now.
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