Bernstein's rule of thumb:

These sort of commissions can do two things.  They can give cover to something that people want to do but don't want to take credit (or responsibility) for.  The classic example for that were the base closing commissions.  And they can give cover for people who don't want to do anything, but don't want to take credit (or responsibility) for that.  

He says that the deficit commission has achieved the latter.

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