Simpson and Bowles Keep Pushing With New Deficit Plan

  • Enact comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform that eliminates or scales back most tax expenditures, with a portion of the savings dedicated to deficit reduction and the rest used to reduce rates and simplify the tax code (Feb-Dec 2013)
  • Strengthen limits on discretionary spending (Feb-Dec 2013)
  • Reduce non-health mandatory spending by reforming farm subsidies, modernizing civilian and military health and retirement programs, imposing various user fees, reforming higher education spending, and making other changes (Feb-Dec 2013)

  • Adopt chained CPI for indexing and achieve savings from program integrity (Feb-Dec 2013)
  • Step 4: Make Social Security and Highway Funding Solvent and Medicare Sustainable

    • Require reforms on a separate track to make Social Security sustainably solvent (2013)
    • Require a highway bill to bring transportation spending and revenues in line (2014)
    • Require additional reforms of federal health care programs if necessary to limit the growth of the per beneficiary federal health commitment to close to GDP growth (2018)

    Simpson, a former GOP senator from Wyoming, and Bowles, a Democrat who served as President Clinton's chief of staff, have gained a reputation as centrist deficit-cutters. But their 2010 plan exposed the problem with centrism in a time of extreme partisanship, and both sides fled their deficit plan with extreme speed.

    Two years later, Simpson and Bowles evidently hope that politics have changed enough to make their reforms more palatable.

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