The failure of Simpson-Bowles
What's odd about the sudden rash of deficit-reduction plans is that they're all being released by members of the Simpson-Bowles commission. Rep. Jan Schakowsky is on the commission, and so too is Alice Rivlin, who co-chaired the group that led to the Bipartisan Policy Group's effort (which, I believe, started its work before the Simpson-Bowles commission).
The point of the Simpson-Bowles commission wasn't full employment for budget wonks. It was consensus. Instead, the Simpson-Bowles commission has led to a further fracturing: The progressives have gone toward Schakowsky, wonkish types have moved toward Rivlin and the BPC, and the center-right has been cautiously supportive of Simpson-Bowles. Some are spinning all this as a different sort of victory. In this telling, Simpson-Bowles has kicked off a healthy discussion. And maybe it is. But it's a failure given the original goals of the project. Far from showing that we can all agree, it's proved that we can't.
| November 18, 2010; 2:07 PM ET
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