Can a special commission stanch America’s red ink?

November 10, 2009

I spent all morning at a Senate Budget Committee hearing looking at how to create a special commission that would devise a plan to fix America’s long-term budget shortfall. This would be like the base-closing commission where a panel — made up mostly of senators and congressman — would submit a plan to Congress that would have to be voted on — up or down, no amendments.

Among the economists and budget experts who testfied — Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Maya MacGuineas, David Walker and Willam Galston — there was widespread agreement that a) commission is a good idea, b) ObamaCare does little to change the long-run fiscal outlook for the better, c) we may be approaching the point where global financial markets rebel as American profligacy, d) Obama will have to break his campaign promise and sharply raise middle-class taxes (in addition to healthcare taxes, of course).

But it would be my guess that Team Obama is more worried today about rising unemployment than rising deficits.


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Posted by HDTV-Ready, LCD Monitor Announced.(Samsung Electronics America’s Samsung SyncMaster 240T)(Product Announcement): An article from: Display Development News [HTML] (Digital) | LCD HDTV Buy Now | Report as abusive

We don’t need a commission. Any housewife could balance the budget. It is done every day. Commisssions are designed to give cover to politicians who know EXACTLY how it can be done but lack the guts to do it.

Posted by Pat Duggan | Report as abusive

Rome is still burning,
the Beltway’s been fiddling all year.

A Bi-partisan Star chamber of pragmatic (and hopefully honest) hatchet-men is what’s needed.

A sprinkling of creativity and vision among their rank would maybe help too.

Firing squad…. one bullet.

Room to hide politically for the participants. Expedience of action.

Posted by bryan | Report as abusive

Many Democrats probably would be fine with Carter-era tax rates on top earners and a VAT. Of course, even if those were enacted, it would just lead to more spending and debt. I doubt a commission would be enough cover to get them to vote on really tough things, like the retirement age or really reforming Medicare. At some point, voters just will have to demand that they stop being treated like children, and deal with reality of how to solve these problems. Don’t hold your breath.

Posted by Brad Templeman | Report as abusive