The Silver Lining in the Tea Party Debt Commission*

They're here to kill teh socialism!

FreedomWorks – the Koch-addicted, Tea Party-associated bastard progeny of conservative wingnut and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey – is cobbling together a budget panel similar to last year's presidential debt commission. Ingeniously, the group has set such ridiculously stringent goals that the policies required to carry them out would have a devastating effect on the economy – wherein lies the comforting prospect of the effort.

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$3.3 Trillion Deficit Reduction Plan Set to Take Effect Jan. 1

One deficit plan that's not getting much attention, and one which can easily pass a Republican-controlled Congress, is the one that the Republican-controlled Congress approved in 2001 (and further augmented in 2003): The 2001-2003 Bush tax cuts.

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Fiscal Commission to Produce Sensible Solutions to Debt/Deficit Dilemma Soon

Rainbows and Unicorns to Appear Shortly After

No, I'm just kidding. In fact, according to a Congressional Quarterly (subscription) article published yesterday, it looks like expected Republican congressional electoral gains this fall may completely gridlock what are already complicated negotiations within the commission over addressing our nation's problematic mid- to long-term fiscal issues.

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Deficit Commission Chair Troubled by Vets, Retirees, "Lesser People"

National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (AKA "Deficit Commission") co-chair former senator Alan Simpson's latest outburst has betrayed his ignoble sensibilities and misguided priorities.

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Fiscal Commission Suffering from a Raging Case of the Stupid

A dunce cap is still culturally relevant when referencing idiocy, right?

Over the weekend, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) and Erskine Bowles, the co-chairmen of the president's debt and deficit commission, spoke to the National Governors Association in Boston. During their speech, Simpson and Bowles hinted at the recommendations their group will make to Congress later this year. Despite pleas to the contrary – including during its recent public hearing – the commission seems bent on a package composed mostly of spending and entitlement cuts.

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Could Social Security Cuts be closer than We Think?

Scissors Beat Paper

That's the question Brian Beutler over at Talking Points Memo raises this morning while reporting on the possibility of a bipartisan consensus on scaling back Social Security benefits materializing in Congress. Recognizing that such a proposal is usually "the third rail of American politics," Beutler lays out the not-impossible scenario of deficit-weary members of Congress sacrificing the relatively solvent entitlement program of Social Security before the alter of fiscal austerity.

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More Hope for the President's Fiscal Commission?

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Yesterday, I happened upon a short post by Berkeley economist Brad DeLong in which he quoted from a recent Daily Caller article taking the temperature of DC insiders prior to the start of President Obama's debt commission. DeLong found Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-OK) comments about eliminating $300 billion worth of waste in Medicaid through the commission discouraging, as "[t]otal Medicaid spending this year is currently pegged at $280 billion." Notwithstanding his obvious mistake, I thought Coburn's comments were encouraging.

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Repubs on Fiscal Commission not Ruling out Tax Increases

Republican Leadership

An article in The Hill on Saturday provided a glimmer of hope for those of us keeping an eye on President Obama’s debt panel. According to the piece, “Republicans aren’t ruling out raising taxes or any other option for dealing with the country’s debt problem as they head into the White House fiscal commission’s first meeting,” which is scheduled for early next week.

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Deficit Commission Gridlock Set to Begin April 27


According to a Bureau of National Affairs article (subscription required) from earlier today, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the 18-member panel created by President Obama to devise strategies for reducing the nation's debt and deficits, have sent a letter to members informing them that the panel's first meeting will commence April 27. Formally known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR?), the panel has a disastrously devised procedural process that is likely to produce either gridlock or, at best, water downed recommendations.

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