David Gergen joined the set of John King USA to praise the "courageous" Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson for their recommendations to balance the budget off of the backs of the elderly, the working class and the poor in the United States. Sorry David
November 10, 2010

David Gergen joined the set of John King USA to praise the "courageous" Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson for their recommendations to balance the budget off of the backs of the elderly, the working class and the poor in the United States. Sorry David but the "grown ups" in this country need to push back against the type of fear mongering we just saw on display here.

KING: David when you listen to a conversation like this, the left and the right essentially saying before the ink is dry, no way, dead on arrival, do you have any confidence at all that even after this election where spending and deficits are a huge concern that the leadership in Washington is prepared to have a grown up conversation about how to deal with it?

GERGEN: John I have hope but not confidence. I think that last conversation where people continue to be dug in in the face of massive deficit this country is running up. A country on the road to bankruptcy and people can't get out of their sandboxes and get serious about this and to say look, we've all got to come together and figure out a constructive solution to this.

You know we'll condemn this country to second class status. You know we're all worried about decline. They will put us there if they do not come to grips with the fact that we've got these huge deficits and to get there what Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, these two chairmen courageously proposed is that we balance the budget at 21% of GDP for taxes and 21% for spending.

That's what we did when Erskine Bowles was Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton and negotiated with Newt Gingrich and the Republicans in the House as you remember John, when that first major balanced budget was achieved back in the 1990's, it was exactly at 21% spending, 21% taxes and we had three balanced budgets in a row and we had great prosperity and jobs in this country and we're going to have to do both.

Now the fact is we've got deficits over the next ten years of ten trillion dollars... ten trillion dollars. This deficit commission is only proposing that we cut four trillion out of the ten trillion. We're still going to have big deficits but at least it gets us on the road to sanity. And if we can't do four, we are just... count on it. We will be a second class country.

From Paul Krugman -- Unserious People:

OK, let’s say goodbye to the deficit commission. If you’re sincerely worried about the US fiscal future — and there’s good reason to be — you don’t propose a plan that involves large cuts in income taxes. Even if those cuts are offset by supposed elimination of tax breaks elsewhere, balancing the budget is hard enough without giving out a lot of goodies — goodies that fairly obviously, even without having the details, would go largely to the very affluent. [...]

Oh, and they’re talking about raising the retirement age, because people live longer — except that the people who really depend on Social Security, those in the bottom half of the distribution, aren’t living much longer. So you’re going to tell janitors to work until they’re 70 because lawyers are living longer than ever.

Still, I guess this is what it takes to get compromise, if by compromise you mean something the center-right and the hard right can agree on.

Update: It’s here. And it really is that bad. The idea that co-chairs of a commission whose charge is fiscal sustainability should take it upon themselves to (a) declare that federal revenue must not exceed 21 percent of GDP — that’s right, putting a cap on receipts and (b) call for reducing the top rate from 35 to 23 is just awesome.

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