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There is no report from the fiscal commission

By Ezra Klein

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Here is the most important fact about the proposal released by the co-chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform: It is not the commission's report. And here is the second most important fact to remember: The commission itself does not have any actual power. So what we're looking at is a discussion draft of a proposal to balance the budget authored by two people who don't have a vote in either the House or the Senate. In a town thick with proposals for balancing the budget but thin on votes for actually passing such proposals, it's not clear what the purpose of this one is.

It's worth taking a moment to consider how we got here: The fiscal commission we have is not the fiscal commission we were supposed to have. The fiscal commission we were supposed to have was the brainchild of Kent Conrad and Judd Gregg, the two senior members of the Senate Budget Committee. "The inability of the regular legislative process to meaningfully act on [the deficit] couldn't be clearer," they wrote. Their proposal would have set up a commission dominated by members of Congress and able to fast-track its consensus recommendations through the congressional process -- no delays, no amendments. But that proposal was filibustered in the Senate, mainly by Republicans who worried it would end in tax increases.

So the president stepped in and created a fiscal commission of his own. Like the Conrad-Gregg commission, it had 18 members, though fewer of them were members of Congress. Like the Conrad-Gregg commission, it would need 14 of its 18 participants to agree to report out its recommendations. But unlike the Conrad-Gregg commission, it had no actual power in Congress. If 14 members agreed on the recommendations, all that meant was that ... 14 members agreed on the recommendations. They could still be filibustered, amended -- whatever. The political logic of this seemed rather peculiar: If the fiscal commission itself could not pass Congress, how would the recommendations from an executive-branch fiscal commission pass Congress? The recommendations, after all, are where the hard stuff is.

Increasingly, the concern looks to be moot: The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will not get agreement from 14 of its members. It might not even get a majority. Today's release, unexpectedly, is a draft proposal from the co-chairs, and that might be as close as the commission comes to a comprehensive product. "This is not a proposal I could support," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, one of the members. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, another participant, was less definitive, but nowhere near supportive. "Some of it I like," he said. "Some of it disturbs me. And some of it I've got to study." The full commission is expected to debate the proposal over the next week.

Reading the report makes clear why the members of Congress are so ambivalent: It cuts Social Security benefits and raises taxes. It slashes discretionary spending without sparing defense. It eliminates the employer-tax exclusion for health care and the mortgage-interest deduction, and does nothing in particular to deal with the resulting chaos in the employer-based health-insurance market or the housing market. A "yea" on this package would not be an easy vote to cast.

Substantively, my impression of the report mirrors Hensarling's: Some of it I like, some of it I don't like, and some of it I need to think more about. But the report doesn't fulfill its basic purpose, which was demonstrating enough consensus among congressional representatives of both parties to convince the public and the political system that Congress is ready to make these choices. The reality is, we don't have a congressional fiscal commission, we don't have a report from the White House's fiscal commission, and we don't have a consensus on fiscal issues between the two parties. The co-chairmen have some interesting policy ideas for how to balance the budget, but as of yet, they've not made any discernible progress on the political deadlock preventing us from balancing the budget. And it's the deadlock, not the policy questions, that they were asked to solve.

Photo credit: White House.

By Ezra Klein  | November 10, 2010; 2:57 PM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Comments

You don't get it, do you? This is all about politics. It's about these two unelected clowns trying to force things their way. Why else put it out now? And yes, it was promised a vote if they got 14 out of the 18 commission members to pass it out of the Committee.

Posted by: Calvin_Jones_and_the_13th_Apostle | November 10, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

How much did the U.S. taxpayers spend on this meaningless exercise in futility?

Posted by: BBear1 | November 10, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Although it's too late to make a difference, I hope that the blue-collar people who voted for Republicans last week realize that they voted that they should potentially have to work until age 70 so that Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, the members of Congress they voted for, and millionaires and billionaires could continue to pay taxes at rates effectively lower than those that blue-collar workers pay now.

Posted by: edallan | November 10, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Any Democrat who supports cuts to SS and social support payments, along with tax cuts to the rich, in the middle of the greatest financial crisis since the Depression, deserves to be primaried. That goes for representatives, senators, the president, the dogcatcher.

Posted by: redscott1904 | November 10, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The Catfood Commission answers to no man.

Posted by: randrewm | November 10, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

edallan:
"I hope that the blue-collar people who voted for Republicans last week realize that they voted that they should potentially have to work until age 70 so that Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, the members of Congress they voted for, and millionaires and billionaires could continue to pay taxes at rates effectively lower than those that blue-collar workers pay now."

I'm afraid you have been struck by the same affliction common to most Democrats, liberals, and progressives...you can't do math.

Nearly half of American taxpayers (47%) paid $0 in federal income taxes last year, including most 'blue-collar' households making up to $50,000.

Now, we car argue whether 28% of a million dollars is too low for evil, greedy, rich folk to be paying in federal taxes...but 28% of $1 million is still more than 0% of $50,000 any day you choose to run it through a calculator.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 10, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

redscott1904:
"Any Democrat who supports cuts to SS and social support payments, along with tax cuts to the rich, in the middle of the greatest financial crisis since the Depression, deserves to be primaried."

Does that include the Democrats who supported -21% cuts in Medicare included in the health care reform bill?

Posted by: dbw1 | November 10, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The fallacy is in thinking that economics is a science. As a well known economics professor wrote years ago, "If you think youare so smart, why ain't you rich?"

Posted by: suegbic1 | November 10, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

There is value in this report because it will provide the citizenry with specific plans for what can be done. And, the fact that we cannot have constant tax cuts and breaks for the mega-rich and expect the deficit and debt to disappear.

Most people seem to just want to cut and have no idea of the how it will impact the government and society.

That makes it great food for thought for the taxpayers.

dbw1, that 47% who pay no taxes certainly do have federal, state and FICA taxes taken from their paychecks every week of the year - even if they do get every cent back when they file (if what you say if true). Looking at gross and net gives them a very clear idea of what is going on with taxes.

Posted by: edismae | November 10, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Strictly speaking, it calls for reducing increases in Social Security. In the context of Medicare and the healthcare reform bill, I believe you have previously argued that "reducing increases" does not constitute "cuts."

Posted by: tomtildrum | November 10, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@dbw1: Check your source. More than 20% of the federal income taxes collected each year come from those making less than $50,000. And that's not counting FICA taxes, which fund social security, which everyone pays -- there is no deduction, credit, or exemption from them.

Posted by: jamesdg | November 10, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

possibly the most asinine waste of time since the commission on pornography in the early 70s.

scratch that. at least the earlier report had some interesting pictures.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | November 10, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

edismae:
"the fact is that we cannot have constant tax cuts and breaks for the mega-rich and expect the deficit and debt to disappear."

True, but the larger fact is that we can't increase Federal government spending 7%-8% every single year, either, and expect the deficit and debt to disappear. Compare tax REVENUE from 2001-2010. Now, compare federal SPENDING.

Ezra hates this comparison because it proves the fallacy of the progressive argument that Bush tax cuts caused the deficits. But while we can talk about whether 28% should be 30%, or 36% should be 39%, those changes won't eliminate the deficit.

The run-away SPENDING caused more of our deficit than did any tax RATE cuts, especially when you can bring yourself to acknowledge the reality that tax REVENUES increased. So any talk of eliminating the deficit without starting the discussion with SPENDING is fairly foolish.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 10, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"Strictly speaking, it calls for reducing increases in Social Security."

...while increasing the progressivity of Social Security benefit payouts.

Posted by: tuber | November 10, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

if they all hate it then it probably makes a lot of sense but that also means it'll never happen. And the posturing from both sides has already begun before the ink is even dry.

let the fools speak of a catfood commission but when you're raising it by one year by 2050 and two years by 2075 when the mortality rate is raising much faster than that simply is, well, a fool.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 10, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"@dbw1: Check your source. More than 20% of the federal income taxes collected each year come from those making less than $50,000."

The 47% was reported extensively this past spring, but the foundational data came from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html?x=0&.v=1

Whenever I post information, the source will always be from a left-leaning organization like the AP, WaPo, CNN, etc. I learned long ago that a favorite tactic of progressives is to attack your source, so that they don't have to address the merit of your argument. So I use left-wing sources to knock that crutch out from under the left-wingers on the board.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 10, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

If China and/or Japan begin slowing their purchases of U.S. Treasuries, people will start to take the commission seriously.

No one is going to change their free-spending habits if they can still trick the Chinese and Japanese to loan us money.

Until then, no one is going to face up to the fact that Social Security, including its SSI component, is a huge Ponzi scheme that's simply unsustainable.

Posted by: coakl | November 10, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

" In the context of Medicare and the healthcare reform bill, I believe you have previously argued that 'reducing increases' does not constitute 'cuts'."

Remember the good 'ol 90's? I recall Gingrich & Co. proposing to scale back programs that had been slotted for 8%-10% annual growth by the previous Democrat Congress. The GOP proposal scaled the planned increases back to the 3%-4% annual growth range.

And Gingrich's proposals weren't just labeled 'cuts'....I believe the exact words used by Democrats were 'draconian cuts'.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 10, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

dbw1 once again thinks that national economies are run with Quicken, but now shows that he works out tax burdens with a musical toy calculator.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 10, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I fear Alan Simpson (Dick Cheney's protege)has succeeded. The purpose of the commission is to get everyone talking about Social Security and Medicaid cuts. President Obama seems to want to do for these two programs what Clinton did for Welfare. I'm a life-long Democrat but I'm starting to believe my guys turn into the best advocates Republicans could get--Republicans couldn't pass these policies.

Posted by: Barbara5 | November 10, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I think Klein has some specific points wrong here. He says the plan eliminates the mortgage interest deduction, but I believe it eliminates it for second homes, for mortgage value above $500K and home equity loans, not for primary mortgages under $500K. Not to diminish the controversy that creates, but it's not what he says.

Klein also says "It eliminates the employer-tax exclusion for health care" but I don't see this in any other story I've read about the report.

Posted by: lseltzer | November 10, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Can we start by reducing Medicaid spending to what it was during the Bush Administration?

Posted by: krazen1211 | November 10, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Don't get excited. This starts nothing but a screaming catfight that passes for thoughtful deliberation by these guys. Unfortunately, anything coming from the commission now is DOA.

Posted by: Botrytis | November 10, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Don't get excited. This starts nothing but a screaming catfight that passes for thoughtful deliberation by these guys. Unfortunately, anything coming from the commission now is DOA.

Posted by: Botrytis | November 10, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, dwb1, regardless of anything else, every American who gets a pay check gets taxed at 12.4% (combined employee and employer) for up to $106,800 + an additional 2.9% (combined employee and employer) for Medicare. This is 15.3% before you even start considering actual income tax, and it applies separately and individually to spouses. Many high-income people will have their FICA deal with before the end of January (other than Medicare). And high income people get taxed at a MAXIMUM of 15% on interest and dividends.

Generally lower-income people probably take the standard deduction -- they certainly don't get any deduction for mortgage interest, for example, which cuts the effective tax rate for higher income people, whom the poorer people are in effect subsidizing.

I can go on and on.

A reminder: It was George Bush and Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and the other Republican sociopaths who started two wars which they didn't want to pay for, leaving it to someone else -- us, now -- to pick up the pieces from the tax cut time bomb that they left us with.

Way to go.

Posted by: edallan | November 10, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

This is a story about Presidential unLeadership.
Mr. Klein presents us with a photo of a room full of empty chairs.
Very fitting. Who's not present is the big story.
President Obama appointed this Commission to deal with pressing national problems.
Where's our President when the Commission leaders he appointed issue their report?
Off in Asia touring Mosques and reliving childhood memories.
President Obama could have had those empty chairs filled.
President Obama could have lent the power and prestige of his office to this endeavor.
President Obama chose to be AWOL.
You can't be physically any farther away from Washington than the President is now and still be on this planet.
So much for Presidential Leadership.
I think we can safely say our Presidemt will choose to remain uninvolved in the difficult task of solving national problems.

Posted by: jfv123 | November 10, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

dbw1 Post #1:
Compare tax REVENUE from 2001-2010. Now, compare federal SPENDING.

Ezra hates this comparison because it proves the fallacy of the progressive argument that Bush tax cuts caused the deficits. ....
The run-away SPENDING caused more of our deficit than did any tax RATE cuts, especially when you can bring yourself to acknowledge the reality that tax REVENUES increased. So any talk of eliminating the deficit without starting the discussion with SPENDING is fairly foolish.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 10, 2010 3:57 PM
########

dbw1 Post #2:
... the non-partisan Tax Policy Center.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 10, 2010 4:04 PM
##########

It is great that you established that the Tax Policy Center is non-partisan. And this is what the Center that you quoted reports on its website about the effect of Bush's tax cuts:
The Bush tax cuts contributed, along with underlying economic conditions, to a historic decline in federal tax revenue. In 2000 total federal tax revenue was as high in proportion to the U.S. economy as it had ever been. By 2004 federal tax revenue in proportion to the economy had fallen to its lowest level in almost fifty years.
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/bush-tax-cuts/revenue.cfm

Posted by: socrates6 | November 10, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party has devastated the country's finances. After WWII, the National Debt went down under every president from Truman to Carter. Then we got Reaganed. After 12 years of "trickle down economics", the Debt exploded from $700 billion to $5.5 trillion.

Clinton came in, raised taxes on the top 1%, and the economy soared. He left with 3 years of increasingly large surpluses, to the point the CBO projected in 2000 that under current policies the National Debt would be paid off in 10 years.

Then we got Bushed. Tax cuts for the wealthy, unpaid for wars, unpaid for Medicare drug program, deregulation-mania that led to the financial meltdown that almost led to the second Great Republican Depression in 80 years. And an additional $5.8 trillion in Debt. Leaving the country buried in close to an $11 trillion National Debt.

And now the chickens have come home to roost and what do the American people do? Reward the people that trashed the country in the first place.

Posted by: tslynch27 | November 10, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Can we start by reducing Medicaid spending to what it was during the Bush Administration?

Posted by: krazen1211 | November 10, 2010 4:36 PM

======

I doubt it, even if Obamacare were repealed. With Obamacare in place we can expect medicaid costs to increase dramatically as employers drop insurance and opt to pay the much cheaper "fine".

Posted by: robert17 | November 10, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The 'Plan' appears to be more of the same stealth cost shifting onto the backs of the Middle Class we've seen for the past 8-10 years. Their Plan simply reeks of reams more double think from the Talking heads, entirely focused on justifying increasing the tax and social burden of a large segment of the citizenry who were already overlooked when the the list of "Rescued" was first drawn-up.

Posted by: oregonbirddog | November 10, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"...but as of yet, they've not made any discernible progress on the political deadlock preventing us from balancing the budget."

Well at least we can be thankful for that!

Posted by: amileoj | November 10, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

So much for liberals being willing to "make the hard decisions." We knew you statists would balk at the first sign of spending cuts. Utterly predictable.

Posted by: bgarst | November 10, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

What percentage of taxes any income group pays by itself is irrelevant. Only comparing that to the percentage of total income and wealth that group holds makes sense.

Further, arguing that the bottom x% pay little or no income tax ignores ability to pay. They need to spend a higher percentage of their income on necessities than do higher earners.

If you want to see the results of supply-side "economics" just look at Ireland. If we cut taxes on the rich, our deficit will explode and we'll be asking the socialists in Europe for a bailout.

Posted by: Garak | November 10, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

"Then we got Bushed. Tax cuts for the wealthy, unpaid for wars, unpaid for Medicare drug program, deregulation-mania that led to the financial meltdown that almost led to the second Great Republican Depression in 80 years. And an additional $5.8 trillion in Debt. Leaving the country buried in close to an $11 trillion National Debt.

And now the chickens have come home to roost and what do the American people do? Reward the people that trashed the country in the first place."

You forgot the last piece of the tale.

We then got Obamaed. Teacher bailouts, union bailouts, tax cuts, cash for clunkers, and incredible unjustified amounts of health care spending later, the deficit hit $14 trillion and counting...

Posted by: krazen1211 | November 10, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

You know, it really is TIRESOME to endlessly witness the central fallacies of this whole discussion.

WHATEVER one may think of the merits or lack thereof attaching to the idea of reducing Social Security benefits, two things should be coldly and explicitly noted.

First, the whole reason Social Security is unsustainable "as is" is that it really has NOT been operated HONESTLY for many years --- inasmuch as the "trust fund" that supposedly comprises it has been RIFLED, with the pool of wealth supposedly "set aside" being "folded into the general revenue pool" that has been used to perpetuate ENDLESS WAR (with nothing by way of payback to show for the "investment"). And THAT was done by "CONSERVATIVE" Whiz-Bangs, who have long MASQUERADED as the supposedly "respectable", "responsible" ostensibly "serious" and "wise" (mis)"leadership".

Second, it is WAY PAST high time for "We the (small) People" to actually CATCH ON to the whole matter of "inflationary rescaling of money" that is now dangled yet again as a supposedly "minimal" and relatively "painless" mechanism whereby the "creative" reduction can be accomplished without it being "noticed" by people who are actually being played for and preyed upon as fools. If the "cost-of-living adjustments" are eliminated, the net effective result is just as much of an actual reduction as if the accounting of the whole business were conducted OPENLY AND HONESTLY. But I suppose there is probably a fat chance of anything like THAT happening!

Posted by: Geheimnis | November 10, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say this but the wealthy hold all the cards on this one.
If we don't keep their taxes relatively modest they'll just ship what's left of our industrial base out of the country, one job at a time.

Posted by: stillaliberal | November 10, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say this but the wealthy hold all the cards on this one.
If we don't keep their taxes relatively modest they'll just ship what's left of our industrial base out of the country, one job at a time.

Posted by: stillaliberal | November 10, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I think it's very useful to have an approach that tries to have shared sacrifices.I'm glad there is a high profile group showing the way, even if it just highlights how worthless our current political discussions are. When you have one political party committed to the idea that 'government is the problem' you're not going to ever have a serious discussion about what government should do, or how to responsibly pay for it.

Posted by: rocks11 | November 10, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Suggest to see: An Economic Tsunami is Coming http://t.co/8fiGNnw
It will come earlier then.

Posted by: 10082044 | November 10, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

This entire effort was nothing more than a smoke screen by the Administration before the mid term elections. The voters didn't by it!!! Somehow a see Soros' hand in this.

Posted by: Jimbo77 | November 10, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The policies as stated in the WaPo article seem to be responsible steps towards fiscal sanity.Facing the inability of the house and Senate to do anything, President Obama did something. By bringing together people knowledgeble about the economic issues facing the federal government who have now at least have a proposed plan towards solvency for the federal budget.

First off, the proposal is to reign in discretionary spending, in cluding the defense budget. In Klein's article there seems to be an abhorrence towards cutting the defense budget. Why? Defense spending is out of control and should be slashed. This would be possible if we no longer pursued unnecessary war, focusing instead on defense in the strictest sense of the word.

Revamping the tax code has been put off for far too long. If the rates of 8,14 and 23 percent, and a

Posted by: Gently52 | November 10, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Juice boxer: "Some of it I like, some of it I don't like, and some of it I need to think more about."

Go right ahead, kid. I'm sure we'll all be standing by, waiting on your every syllable.

Posted by: thebump | November 10, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

It is tragic that SS has become a political football. It is without doubt the fairest tax in that everyone receives something to help them through their elder years.
The commission should recommend fixing SS by raising the ceiling on receipts from payroll taxes, this alone will fix the majority of the shortfall and then have each worker pay a dollar more per week if needed for the rest. The SS actuaries estimate that in 2039 the fund will be able to pay 75% of the current benefits, but if the above actions are taken there will be no change in benefits.
Medicare is a whole different animal since it is dependent on the prices the medical community decides to charge. The only control on this is if it were a single payer that would counter the increases but that runs the risk of reducing the type of health care we get so it needs careful planning.
Also raising the age is fine for someone who is likely to live longer such as an economist or legislator but for those that work in the coal mines and factories it is really unfair since their life expectancy is about 5 years less.

Posted by: KCHam | November 10, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Let's just enact this and save our kids..... I'm sick of congressional grandstanding. Is it too much to ask of us to sacrifice or are we all too spoiled and entitled? Our generation will be a sick, twisted joke if we don't suck it up... Count me in.

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | November 10, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks. You are one of the few level heads out there. I am a lefty but I agree, isn't it a bit premature to get your panties all twisted into a not over a non report report. Shouldn't every thing be on the table for discussion. I collect SSI. I'm not rich. But I'm willing to talk. There are tax changes for the rich here also and a 20% reduction in defense.... everybody's ox is gored. This is the opening gambit for the discussion. If progressives go nuts and start shouting the sky is falling within hours of the chairmen expressing their thoughts, and before any official report, then we go no where and our economy is doomed to slowly but surely sink to banana republic status. I listened to Eric Weiner on Olberman tonight. Sorry. I am done with this guy. He is a shouter like Bachman. He cherry picked what he didn't like and never mentioned the things many progressives may well like. A blatant attempt to whip progressives....in the congressional sense of the word. That ain't gonna get us any where. That is not constructive. The people have to face some hard economic facts and hiding behind scarey words is just plain shameful.

Posted by: tarryh | November 10, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: alvindrew11 | November 11, 2010 2:21 AM | Report abuse


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Posted by: alvindrew11 | November 11, 2010 2:27 AM | Report abuse

This is the stupidest series of proposals I can imagine: Look, Federal Workers depend on Social Security for part of their retirement plan. Since the Reagan Administration, there is no Federal Retirement Plan. FERS is a combination of savings (of a 401K type) and Social Security. You can't cut Social Security benefits for Federal Workers. It violates the promise between the nation's largest employer and their employees. It is a disgusting breach of our failed government's guarantees. But, this stupid commission doesn't understand that.

Posted by: bert8 | November 11, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Moment of truth for the country arriving. If we do not get control of this situation, the country will be damaged for the next 30 years.

Posted by: Gooddogs | November 11, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

This is a story about Presidential unLeadership.
Mr. Klein presents us with a photo of a room full of empty chairs.
Very fitting. Who's not present is the big story.
President Obama appointed this Commission to deal with pressing national problems.
Where's our President when the Commission leaders he appointed issue their report?
Off in Asia touring Mosques and reliving childhood memories.
President Obama could have had those empty chairs filled.
President Obama could have lent the power and prestige of his office to this endeavor.
President Obama chose to be AWOL.
You can't be physically any farther away from Washington than the President is now and still be on this planet.
So much for Presidential Leadership.
I think we can safely say our Presidemt will choose to remain uninvolved in the difficult task of solving national problems.

Posted by: jfv123 | November 10, 2010 5:21 PM

No it's not a story about POTUS leadership. Read it again. It's about two people who are on the commission who released a draft.

You clearly missed there is a G20 meeting in Mumbai. Perhaps you should consider other news sources than Fox?

And the rest of your post is equally silly nonsense. You're a pathetic loser. Though perhaps that's an insult to pathetic losers elsewhere.

Posted by: James10 | November 11, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Tax increases do not work -- they just encourage continued government spending.

Even the IMF has calculated that spending cuts create more jobs than tax increases!

Increase the retirement age on Social Security to 71 over 15 years, and SS works.

Posted by: donx65 | November 11, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Tax increases do not work -- they just encourage continued government spending.

Even the IMF has calculated that spending cuts create/preserve more jobs than tax increases!

Increase the retirement age on Social Security to 71 over 15 years, and SS works.

Posted by: donx65 | November 11, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Can we start by reducing Medicaid spending to what it was during the Bush Administration?

Posted by: krazen1211 | November 10, 2010 4:36 PM

======

I doubt it, even if Obamacare were repealed. With Obamacare in place we can expect medicaid costs to increase dramatically as employers drop insurance and opt to pay the much cheaper "fine".

Posted by: robert17

---------------

So you think that Congress is going to repeal the Health Care reform when the CBO prices it out as adding over $1T to the deficit? I'll enjoy watching that one play out.

You don't understand Medicaid much do you? There are a few exceptions but qualifying for Medicaid is determined by income. A company dropping health insurance coverage doesn't lower income.

The fun is just beginning. Mitch McConnell finally broke the news that banning earmarks won't save any money and it's un-Constitutional anyway. I happen to agree with him on the former. On the later, he's just blowing smoke to all the teabaggers who want a Constitutional government [whatever that meant].

Make the tax cuts permanent will be just as entertaining when the CBO prices that one out. Adding trillions to the deficit again. Death taxes. Same thing. That's why they don't fix the AGI. To keep the projected deficit down.

It's going to be great entertainment.

Posted by: James10 | November 11, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Over and Over I read that lowering the tax rate magically increased revenue. I would like to see all of the folks that believe that try it at home. Go to work tomorrow and tell your boss that you demand a 5% reduction in pay to balance your household budget. When she stops laughing explain that this is the only way a budget can be balanced and further state your demand to have your wage rate lowered. Then while you are out looking for a new job trade in that old clunker and get the car that your new found prosperity deserves. Happy driving and congratulations on your newly balanced budget.

Posted by: fish4 | November 11, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

The co-chairs have provided a short list of proposed cuts to the largest expenditures in the federal budget. This is where the real money is being spent and where real impacts would be felt should the cuts be implemented. The message is simple: Things are bad and they are going to get incredibly worse.

Posted by: shield1 | November 11, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

..."As a registered Voter/Vet USAF, I agree with you sir...1000 PERCENT!

Posted by: ztcb41 | November 11, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

What this report shows us is that the so-called "Republican" way of cutting discretionary spending is DOA - it won't work.

If we have to make the deep cuts proposed in this plan, and yes, I read the entire plan and some of my oxen are also being gored, this will require sacrifice on just about everyone's part.

When I read the comments by news pundits about the plan I was against the plan.

When I took the time to read the 50 page-powerpoint (large writing), I see this is a plan worthy of considering.

As one commenter said earlier, if the Democrats had put this plan forth before the election, they would probably have won the mid-term elections everywhere.

Posted by: SCVoter | November 11, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

STATING THE OBVIOUS

Hey, Kid -- your buddy Pelosi, what color does she and OWEbama, want the GOVERNMENT SCRIP do be?

Because SCRIP is what is next, thanks to OWEbama and those FOOL (R) spenders.

Posted by: russpoter | November 11, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

STATING THE OBVIOUS

Hey, Kid -- your buddy Pelosi, what color does she and OWEbama, want the GOVERNMENT SCRIP do be?

Because SCRIP is what is next, thanks to OWEbama and those FOOL (R) spenders.

Posted by: russpoter | November 11, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

the whole Commission idea was designed to provide political cover for politicians:

"I didn't raise your taxes or cut your entitlements, the damn Commission did it."

Congress needs to "man up" and do their job. And sometimes that job involves telling people what they don't want to hear. And doing things they don't want to do. That's called leadership.

Posted by: Frazil | November 11, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The recommendations are actually okay, with the exception of not touching health care, where we really need to slash. I think the amazing thing is that you have to cut defense, social security, AND raise taxes to put a dent in the deficit. As anyone behind on their bills can relate, or anyone who has run a company with significant bond financed debt service (ok, maybe that's just me here), the payments on the debt we have already incurred are putting a significant cost into the budget.

Not for one minute do I believe social security should be paid in full to the baby boom generation. They didn't put enough money in, they didn't elect governments that would put the pension money aside, and they let the money be wasted. We never even got our lockbox.

Still, the main problem is putting the reins on health care spending. If only there were an easy way to ensure that consumers shopped on a value basis and didn't have incentives to over consume, like HSAs for Medicare.

Posted by: staticvars | November 11, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

To reduce the deficit one most go where the money is: American business.

While it will take a blood & guts fight between Congress and the business communtiy the only way to reduce debt and the deficit is to force the creation of well-paying jobs in the millions. There is no other way. One cannot cut spending their to prosperity.

Posted by: Maddogg | November 11, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Since 9/11 we have spent for two wars and its adjunct costs. We have expanded Homeland Security exponentially. We now have a huge beauracracy called TSA. Would you care to guess what all of this costs ?
Osama has won ! We overreacted, drew our guns, and shot ourselves. And now we teeter on Bankruptcy. There is no such thing as 100% security and attempting to make it so is foolhardy.

Posted by: gzlib | November 11, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The whole, and only, purpose of this commission was to allow Obama to falsely claim he was doing something about the deficit, and not have to put anything concrete forward prior to the elections. It has served its purpose and will now just fade away as the next big ens item hits.

Posted by: marknelso | November 11, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Q - Where's all this stuff heading us?

A - To a super size economic depression.

Posted by: Maddogg | November 11, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Getting rid of the mortgage deduction would decimate what's left of the housing market.

If it were enacted it'd be repealed within a year, as people that have their life savings tied up in their homes would see their savings wiped out.

Posted by: TheHillman | November 11, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Q - Where's all this stuff heading us?

A - To a super size economic depression.

Posted by: Maddogg | November 11, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I'm sure Congress will heed any of these recommendations about as much as Shrub listened to the Iraq commission's recommendations -- not at all.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | November 11, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

fish4:
"Over and Over I read that lowering the tax rate magically increased revenue. I would like to see all of the folks that believe that try it at home. Go to work tomorrow and tell your boss that you demand a 5% reduction in pay to balance your household budget."

I have a better idea....why don't you set up a lemonade stand today, and sell lemonade for $5 a glass. Tomorrow, sell the same lemonade for $0.50 a glass, and come back and tell us how much REVENUE you 'lost'.

Like most Democrats, liberals, and progressives, you like to pretend that increases or decreases in tax RATES have no impact on economic behavior. You pretend the same sales will occur, the same jobs will be created or eliminated, the same profits realized or lost, regardless of whatever the tax RATE happens to be.

If you really have your blindfold tied on that tightly so that you refuse to recognize the historical reality that cutting tax RATES can possibly lead to increases in tax REVENUES, I invite you to go back and review what happened in the 1960's after JFK slashed tax RATES, or in the 1980's after Reagan did the same. Your point falls apart when you see what happened to tax REVENUES after RATES were lowered.

I don't see why this simple point is so hard for liberals to understand. A tax RATE is a price. It's absolutely possible to reduce a PRICE and increase revenue. It's also very possible to increase a PRICE to where it decreases revenue. Any kid who has ever run a lemonade stand understands this simplest of economic realities.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 11, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

@dbw1 has wrongly stated that 47% don't pay federal income taxes. If you read the article he uses as evidence, it provides a theoretical situation. However, not all households earning $50,000 or less are married with two children. The "no taxes paid" scenario has to be this specific family in order to not pay federal income tax. Moreover, the family is still paying payroll taxes such as FICA. So they are still paying into federal entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Therefore, another false and misleading "fact" thrown about by the Republicans to justify no tax increases for rich people is employed.

Posted by: massage4 | November 11, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

@dbw1 has wrongly stated that 47% don't pay federal income taxes. If you read the article he uses as evidence, it provides a theoretical situation. However, not all households earning $50,000 or less are married with two children. The "no taxes paid" scenario has to be this specific family in order to not pay federal income tax. Moreover, the family is still paying payroll taxes such as FICA. So they are still paying into federal entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Therefore, another false and misleading "fact" thrown about by the Republicans to justify no tax increases for rich people is employed.

Posted by: massage4 | November 11, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I suppose that the Post will line up against the deficit commission because it supports cutting the military, since high levels of military spending by the US means that Israel has to spend less on its own military.
The Chinese and other petroleum users import most of the output of the Persian Gulf. Let them protect the oil. I would bet they would make short work of Al Qaeda and the like, with boots on the ground and scorched earth policies. Chechnya writ large. Except, heavens forbid, part of that scored earth might be in that little corner of Zionist paradise on the Mediterranean called Israel. And so we must bleed our treasury dry carrying water for the security needs of non-Americans.

Posted by: stillaliberal | November 11, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

You can't reduce the debt without raising taxes. That's what this preliminary report shows.

My comment to the GOP on their plan to reduce the deficit and extend the Bush tax cuts to the rich adding $700 billion more to the defict: Where's the beef? Show us your list of specific items and amounts you will cut. You tell me that farmers will give up their lavish subsidies, those who receive Social Security and Medicare will be willing to take huge cuts, states with defense plants and military bases and bridges to nowhere will be willing to have those taken away, veterans will be willing to pay for more of their own health care. The list goes on and on.

No party or president will begin to reduce the deficit without raising taxes.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | November 11, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

So again, most of the proposals affect the middle and lower income people the most: Eliminating mortage interest rate deductions; decreasing medicare and ss while forcing the average person to work longer (OH! Are they going to start enforcing age discrimination in the workplace more vigorously?); cutting back ALL discretionary spending; taxing health care benefits, etc.

Where are the suggestions for closing tax loopholes for business and the wealthy? What about reducing medicare and ss benefit's for the wealthy? What about revamping income taxes, period?

I understand something needs to be done...but again it appears special interest's considerations were given a higher priority than the interest's of the average worker. My middle class standard of living will be further diluted.

Posted by: ilcn | November 11, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I truly admire Barak Obama. He said he wanted to put problems on the table which have been put off forever. This cmomission--controversial though it might be--is doing that.

No one can claim to cut the deficit, especially while lowering taxes, without giving a specific list of what and how much they will cut. GOP? Batter up. Give us your list.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | November 11, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

My ideas:

Don't mess with Social Security since that fund is generating, and will continue to generate, funding for the amount of payout for years to come. When that time comes, then tweak it. Right now, it's paying out close to what it brings in, and that's its intent: No overtaxation on the working class, and no overpayment of benefits to retirees.

If the situation changes as expected, that payouts will exceed amounts collected, then deal with it. That's only after the fund has exhausted all of the "IOUs" that the general fund owes for the years of appropriating those funds for other uses.

It will only encourage the general fund to increase spending and issuing more IOUs if more surplus taxes are collected.

Rather than increase FICA/SS tax collection and/or reduce payouts, let's get the revenue where it should have come from all these years: The income tax side of things. That's where the general fund expenditures rightfully should come from.

And once that's established, let's return to a truly progressive tax system. Where the top 1-2% are paying their fair share and not less of a percentage than the bottom 98%.


Posted by: pmay2 | November 11, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Well, I agree with the last point that it's an argument to "bell the cat" but no one knows how to do it.

But I'm thrilled. I wish I could push a button and enact all this lock, stock and barrel; this despite the risk to my own job. Home mortgage deductions? Doesn't help homeowners, but does help the housing industry. (Let me explain, tax deductions create more demand, builders can then raise prices, defeating the incentive of the deduction) a little bad for everyone, Defense cut, social security slow down/cuts, raise gasoline taxes (so roadbuilding doesn't have to come out of the general fund, fair: right?) and cuts down on the evils of a bigger car culture... as I say I'm thrilled.

As a side note, I laugh at the idea of a Nobel prize for economics, you year all this talk about Keynes, doing this, doing that, but at its most basic, economies operate no differently than households, spend more than you make, you're in trouble. That's what a lot of these goofballs don't seem to comprehend, you have to cut benefits or the market will cut them for you. It's not even a choice.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | November 11, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

How about a cut on the danged herd of Federal Government leaches? We could easily cut 10-20 % of the government employees. (That would also cut entitlements in future) What happened to all the money we spent on computers to need less workers? The government came up with more useless paperwork to go with more useless workers! Reagan had it right with the whining air traffic controllers. Now let's do the same thing with third and fourth generation career Federal employees.

Posted by: gunnysgt77 | November 11, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@dbw1: What you conveniently leave out is most of the increases in spending have been passed by conservatives, NOT liberals. I understand why you forget to mention that, since it allows you to continue your illogical thinking, but it doesn't change the facts. Two unfunded wars costing over $1 trillion: GOP, $900 billion expansion of Medicare: GOP.

And I will add one more: Just spent entire election season campaigning to ROLL BACK cuts to Medicare spending: GOP.

Your problem is you believe the crap the GOP spoon feeds you, instead of looking at their actual actions

Posted by: maurban | November 11, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

How about a cut on the danged herd of Federal Government leaches? We could easily cut 10-20 % of the government employees. (That would also cut entitlements in future) What happened to all the money we spent on computers to need less workers? The government came up with more useless paperwork to go with more useless workers! How about starting with less employees in the Social Security offices. Have you ever gone into a SS office and saw one employee at the desk 'helping' people while the others sat in the back and occasionally look out front to ogle the mess, but never step out to help? Reagan had it right with the whining air traffic controllers. Now let's do the same thing with third and fourth generation career Federal employees. And to top it the Federal Employees want another raise this year while the working people lose homes, jobs and pay.

Posted by: gunnysgt77 | November 11, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@dbw1: What you conveniently leave out is most of the increases in spending have been passed by conservatives, NOT liberals. I understand why you forget to mention that, since it allows you to continue your illogical thinking, but it doesn't change the facts. Two unfunded wars costing over $1 trillion: GOP, $900 billion expansion of Medicare: GOP.

And I will add one more: Just spent entire election season campaigning to ROLL BACK cuts to Medicare spending: GOP.

Your problem is you believe the crap the GOP spoon feeds you, instead of looking at their actual actions

Posted by: maurban | November 11, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Cut, cut, cut, but don't ask the rich to pay taxes. This is all about abolishing the 20th century and moving back to the good old Gilded Age.

Obama? He never says no, he simply wants to think about it! If some old right-wing, unelected fool like Simpson called for the re-enslavement of African-Americans, Obama would want to give it some thought.

Posted by: rusty3 | November 11, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Well said as usual, Mr. Klein. One thing the early release of this proposal does do is generate news and flush out, early, all the usual cant about spending and deficits.

My favorite is the notion of "shared sacrifice" as an apology for draconian cuts in medicare and for pushing the social security retirement age beyond the expected lifespan of not the lifelong well-cared for professional/managerial class but beyond much of the remaining lifespan of hard and hazardous laboring blue collar workers.

"Shared sacrifice" among those who have most everything and those who have next to nothing, among hedge fund managers and night janitors, is no kind of "sharing" worthy the name. Just more of the same old, same old piety of platitudes covering business as usual, the inglorious but oh so convenient taking of the haves from the have nots in times of trouble.

Posted by: washpost29 | November 11, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

There are many good things in the draft report - surprisingly - and there are many bad things. To achieve a consensus in most of these would be practically impossible with an Obama administration that has not been known for seeking consensus - regardless of how much lip service he gives to it.
A short but precise balance of them has been struck by "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" segment of http://www.robbingamerica.com

Posted by: JohnGalt9 | November 11, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

According to the network news, these recommendations go into effect tomorrow.

Posted by: Alsatian1 | November 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Maybe when our credit rating takes a hit like Japan, there will be consensus to make the painful choices.

Posted by: moebius22 | November 11, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

How ironic.

The GOP shot itself in the foot, as the commission is largely for spending cuts, and not taxation.

The liberals shot themselves in the foot for pushing on with the debt commission because it calls for massive cuts in both govt employees and liberal handout programs.

NICE. Hate to say it, no one should like what is needed... it's going to suck.

Posted by: docwhocuts | November 11, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Tax increases do not work -- they just encourage continued government spending.

Even the IMF has calculated that spending cuts create/preserve more jobs than tax increases!

Increase the retirement age on Social Security to 71 over 15 years, and SS works."

If tax cuts work then why didn't the Bush tax cuts save us from the Recession. I'm sick and tired of hearing how cutting taxes will trickle down wealth from the millionaire elites of this country. Under Bush and the Republican congress wealth trickled up. Its about time the government gives us all a chance to succeed and stop tilting the playing field towards the rich.

Posted by: jaroszmm | November 11, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

How about collecting the taxes owed my Federal employees. The unwashed masses are attacked with the full weight of the government for nickels and dimes but the government connected seem to skip down the road, fat, dumb and happy. Look at the number of politically connected that made the papers in the last 2 years for 'crimes' of not paying their tax or taxes on employees. Start with government connected persons like Madoff and work your way down. Where were the IRS employees when people were trying to get someones attention on that scam? Clean up government, get rid of the illegals and control government contracting/out sourcing and you would not need to have this conversation.

Posted by: gunnysgt77 | November 11, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Obama should do the same thing Eisenhower did when he was faced with a similar situation. Raise the marginal tax rate on the upper 2% of the population to 91%.

Posted by: blarsen1 | November 11, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The solution is simple.
Tax the RICH back to the fair rates established before Reagan.

They got all the benefit growth, the bail outs and none of the risk.

The Public has to pay
Higher Taxes
Higher Insurance Cost
and
take Lower Pay.
and
Reduced Service
and
Poor Education
and
our kids are dying for their profits.

Time for the RICH to support America..

ISA


Posted by: vettesport | November 11, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"So what we're looking at is a discussion draft of a proposal to balance the budget authored by two people who don't have a vote in either the House or the Senate"

Yep, just a waste of time and a feel good action set up by a guy that doesn't have the brain power to run a lemonade stand.

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 11, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: blarsen1, "Obama should do the same thing Eisenhower did when he was faced with a similar situation. Raise the marginal tax rate on the upper 2% of the population to 91%."
----------------------------------------
Obumbler can write and pass laws all by himself?

ROFLMAO!

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 11, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: blarsen1, "Obama should do the same thing Eisenhower did when he was faced with a similar situation. Raise the marginal tax rate on the upper 2% of the population to 91%."
----------------------------------------
Obumbler can write and pass laws all by himself?

ROFLMAO!

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 11, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: blarsen1, "Obama should do the same thing Eisenhower did when he was faced with a similar situation. Raise the marginal tax rate on the upper 2% of the population to 91%."
----------------------------------------
Obumbler can write and pass laws all by himself?

ROFLMAO!

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 11, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Let's go back to the 1950's, when the top tax rate on the rich was 90%. Didn't seem to stop job creation or the wealthy from becoming wealthier then.

Posted by: ben16 | November 11, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

So a guy who is 55, his job goes overseas because his company gets a tax break to do that, then his company cancels his pension and health insurance, he can't find work because Republic Party policy since St. Raygun has called exporting our jobs good for the economy, and his only lifeline is unemployment insurance and then Social Security and Medicare.

And Bohner and his syndicate think Americans voted for him so he could give the rich people another tax gift from the Treasury and pay for it by cutting benefits for seniors? And I'm a marxist commie if I find this idea to be perverse and nuts?


Posted by: mongolovesheriff | November 11, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

dbw1 said: "True, but the larger fact is that we can't increase Federal government spending 7%-8% every single year, either, and expect the deficit and debt to disappear. Compare tax REVENUE from 2001-2010. Now, compare federal SPENDING."

And who control the Presidency during 8 of those years, and who controlled Congress during 6 of them? Yet it is only now that the Republican party seems to have gotten religion and finally wants to do something about cutting spending and deficit.

If the Democrats are the "tax and spend" party, then the Republicans are the "cut taxes (mainly for the rich) and spend anyway" party.

Posted by: mencik | November 11, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that we have all these "sacred cows" that we guard with our life - politicians and citizens alike. No, we can't touch Social Security, we surely can't ever cut defense, the mortgage-interest deduction is part of the American way, and anyone who suggests removing other tax deductions or - God forbid , raising taxes - will be shot on sight. Meanwhile, deficits rise and our national debt burden is growing ominously close to pushing the U.S. out of its long-held superpower status. If we don't figure out how to balance our budgets from year to year and reduce the national debt, China will soon eclipse us as the world's #1 superpower. But I realize I'm delusional. If we all just say no to painful decisions, then everything will work out just fine.

Posted by: cybergil58 | November 11, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I can see there will be a lot more bargaining, camel trading and compromising before the budget issue is settled, and it will be unlikely to happen quickly. Congress doesn't do 'quickly' well.

I heard not long ago that if the tax cut to well-off ends, a family making $250,000 would pay a whopping $132 more a year. Unbearable! (Rolling eyes)

I don't expect SocSec to be cut; that deal was made when the government was still trying to keep the working class out of poverty upon retirement.

Raising the age of retirement to 69-71, however, sounds to me like a crafty way of getting out of paying people back before they die. (The ole 'die sooner, die sicker, drop in the traces' routine).

Posted by: sea_lyon | November 11, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I read where the Commission had a $500,000 budget. What a waste of money at a time when we are trying to cut spending!

This report is good for nothing but lining the bottom of a bird cage and has only succeeded in making MILLIONS of Americans extremely apprehensive!

Nice that Obama is out of town when the report was released. Once I saw where Alan Simpson was co-chair of the Commission, I new what to expect! He likes to stick it to us, always has, always will. He has NO class or sense of decency!

Posted by: cashmere1 | November 11, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

dbw1, I don't know where you are getting your figures, but I'm in that group, and paid about fifteen percent in taxes. Maybe you are mixed up, because last time I checked the figures released by the government, those who were in the 28% tax bracket were actually paying less, percentage-wise, and many paying much less dollar-wise, than those in the fifteen percent tax bracket. A lot of the very wealthy pay no taxes at all, because they have some very good labbyists working for them in Washington, who make sure there are plenty of holes in the laws in which they can hide their money. If the wealthy were actually paying 28%, we'd be in pretty good shape.

Posted by: garoth | November 11, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

This commission is bogus! When you read todays article that that the deficit commission staffers are paid by outside groups like Goldman Sachs then it becomes worthless, because NO ONE will trust its conclusions. A complete waste of time!

Posted by: sandnsmith | November 11, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

so you republican and democrat loyalists keep voting in your favorite cretin to congress. You spend all your time blaming the other party for not solving the debt problems we have.

Then you refuse to let go of any of your entitlements, earmarks, and other lard your representatives and senators have stolen from the tax payer to give you to.

Following this, you have a 20% favorability rating for congress.

So tell the independent voters once again - how is it that this isn't your fault? How is it that you don't bear responsibility for the congress the way it is? You keep voting in these fools.

The democrats are too scared to raise enough taxes to pay for the nonsense they want to spend our money on. The republicans are too scared to cut any real spending to support the tax cuts they're going to enact, but boy they can sure lie about it, both of them.

This is your fault, you democrats and you republicans.

Posted by: eezmamata | November 11, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I say bring on the crisis so that we can finally resolve our out of control debt, out of control growth in government, careless spending, bloated defense, anti growth taxes, tax free-riders, tax credits, exclusions, etc. When the crisis comes, our debt will be so big as to require drastic decisions that will clean the slate. It can't come soon enough.

Posted by: NEWSOUTH1 | November 11, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I will stand up and say that I will pay more federal taxes if the money is used to balance the budget and pay down the national debt. I will agree to increases in the retirement age as well as income limits on SS payments to retirees. I will agree to eliminate the cap on the annual amount that I pay in to SS based on my salary. I will stand up and accept cuts to government programs and the government payroll (including the military) as long as they are done wisely. Cuts must be used to reduce the national debt to a level that is reasonable for future investments in our nation while still providing critical services for the people of America. I will ask R, R(TP), D and D(I) congressmen to agree to eliminate earmarks and stop adding earmark amendments to important legislation. I will support tax reform legislation that eliminates deductions and simplifies the federal tax policy while making it fair. I will ask the American congress to reject both the Trickle Down theory and Keynesian Economics and look for new economic theories that work in the 21st century. I will agree to revisions to Health Care Reform that will move America to a better system that covers more Americans and reduces the burdens on emergency rooms. I will call for immigration reform that allows for guest worker programs to fill the jobs that Americans simply will not take while setting rational quotas for immigration and speeding the deportation process. I will be accountable for the direction of our nation and a renewed period of economic self sufficiency.

Will anyone join me in this call for massive reform? TP's, are you there?

Posted by: mraymond10 | November 11, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, another factor that was overlooked in your wonderful analysis was that this commission was charged with finding a way to reduce the deficit in 5 years. That is really a ridiculously short time to fix a problem that has been a decade in the making. It also accounts for the reason there are such draconian recommendations. If that window of time to solve the problem were extending some of the more harsher recommendations would be greatly reduced. It's why people have a 30 year mortgage on a house because to pay back the cost on a house in 5 years would be prohibitive to most people. I know Americans are a fast food nation wanting instant gratification but to expect the country to get out of debt in 5 years I think is unrealistic. By giving this commission such an unrealistic goal one has to wonder if the whole purpose was to have it fail either by not being able to come to a consensus, which seems the likely outcome, or to propose something that doesn't have a chance at all of ever being passed legislatively.

Posted by: dre7861 | November 11, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The fiscal problems we face are the result of the total failure of two party government in the US. The system set up by the "founding fathers" is obsolete, and has ceased to function. Unfortunately, the same people would be "in charge" and would twist any new approaches and constitutional revisions to their own or their party's benefit.
It looks increasingly, that the only way out is the use of a altruistic, beneficial dictator, who would set up a new system, because the divisions within the country are too deep.
The Congress has worked long and hard to undermine any confidence that people have in its operation. We just lack any people in Congress with incorruptible devotion to the common good,instead that of their own and their party. As long as we have a CONGRESS THAT PLACES PARTY ABOVE COUNTRY, we have a nation heading downhill to second place.

Posted by: beagun27 | November 11, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

There are many good things in the draft report - surprisingly - and there are many bad things. To achieve a consensus in most of these would be practically impossible with an Obama administration that has not been known for seeking consensus - regardless of how much lip service he gives to it.
A short but precise balance of them has been struck by "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" segment of http://www.robbingamerica.com

Posted by: JohnGalt9 | November 11, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

dbw1 - you repeat a lot of rightwing talking points. Studies have indicated that eliminating the Bush taxcuts, for all Americans, would remove much of the deficit. And as for the claim that 47% of Americans don't pay taxes, I'd like to see that report from a nonpartisan source though I know the rightwing echo chamber constantly repeats it as "fact."

However, a real fact is that many American corporations pay ZERO taxes, like American Express.

Posted by: eeave | November 11, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

In a sound bite world where everyone in D.C. is compensated based on the immediacy and forcefulness of their opinions, the words "I need to think more about it" strike a refreshing chord.

Posted by: atxord | November 11, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

You can spew all the Republican & Democrat talking points you want. It tends to sound like a grown up version of the play ground game of my daddy can beat up your mommy. But until we, as a nation, stop spending more than is possible to take in with out hurting the economy we are doomed to financial ruin. You have to stop the big kids (Elected Republicans and Democrats) from not only stealing the lunch money but also from eating everything in site!

Posted by: gunnysgt77 | November 11, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Erza,
As you mentioned that the Commission's report has no legal force nor any support of Congress although many of the members come from Congress. What you left out that the Commission was charged to find ways to reduce deficit in 5 years or 2015. It is highly unlikely it will pass because of the short term horizon in this bad economy. I would rather see a longer term dedication but that won't happen. Furthermore many of the members in Congress have final say when it goes to Congress and right now there is no consensus because it includes the good and the bad.

It also means that many of the political groups will jockey for position to get what they wanted (many of the commission members are paid by outside groups with vested interest in the outcome although it saves money because its budget is $500,000)

Posted by: beeker25 | November 11, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

dbw1 - you repeat a lot of rightwing talking points. Studies have indicated that eliminating the Bush taxcuts, for all Americans, would remove much of the deficit. And as for the claim that 47% of Americans don't pay taxes, I'd like to see that report from a nonpartisan source though I know the rightwing echo chamber constantly repeats it as "fact."

However, a real fact is that many American corporations pay ZERO taxes, like American Express.

Posted by: eeave
---------
It is true that the elimination of the Bush tax cuts would eliminated the deficit but you have to include the time that Bush argued that the PAYGO should apply to spending but not his tax cuts.

The issue of the 47% pays no taxes is nothing more than use of selective arguments to make a point. In order to get that no tax bracket you have to pay some form of taxes before you file the return and utilizing the deductions, credits and etc to qualify for it. Secondly it is depends on the level of income that the person makes.

Secondly, it is true most corporations pay little or no taxes at all because of the way the tax codes are gamed to minimize tax payment through deductions and credits and etc which is why the corporations have a tax department to handle that ( I worked in one two years ago) and that is allowed due to the Tax Court. Another thing they can lobby Congress to get the breaks they want by adding or changing the sections of the legislation to change the definition or time period. Last thing I want to mention is the argument of the corporate tax being 35% is also a misnomer too because it ignored what I have mentioned above.

Posted by: beeker25 | November 11, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Tax 100% of every marginal dollar over $50,000.

Posted by: DoubledownDC | November 11, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Sales Tax to replace Income Tax, plelase!

Posted by: rryder1 | November 11, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Sales Tax to replace Income Tax, please!

Posted by: rryder1 | November 11, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

As I recall, Ezra, the commission's report must be voted on AS IS. No amendment process. So that puts it in a different light altogether, yes?

Posted by: uberblonde1 | November 11, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

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