Andrea Mitchell Demands Simpson-Bowles, Durbin Reassures Her

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Dear God, Andrea Mitchell is just as obnoxious as Sally Quinn at her worst. "How are we going to pay for all that?" And she's hounding Dick Durbin about why, why, WHY isn't this stubborn president cutting all that wasteful spending and pushing Simpson-Bowles to make her and her husband's friends on Wall Street happy.

Notice how Durbin hastens to assure her that Obama didn't embrace it because it would have hardened the Republican opposition, and that the Simpson-Bowles report (the Catfood Commission report) has been and will continue to be the template the president will follow. Oh, goody:

Like the Republicans, Democrats cherry-pick. Pelosi, for example, says she is all for Simpson-Bowles, except for that pesky Social Security part.

That "part" would be the Simpson-Bowles proposals to increase the retirement age over the next 50 years from 66 to 69 and the age for early retirement from 62 to 64. This would result, under Social Security formulas, in a 7 percent reduction in benefits for every year the full retirement age is increased, says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. At the same time, elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay higher out-of-pocket expenses.

Liberals quail, as well, at the way Simpson-Bowles would cap federal revenue and spending at 21 percent of gross domestic product and limit the rate of growth of federal health care costs for the poor, the elderly, children, veterans and military families, to the growth of GDP plus 1 percent.

So if the rate of for-profit healthcare increases outstrips GDP plus one percent, doesn't that leave us with... a voucher system?

Various Democratic interest groups shudder at the proposals to freeze pay for federal workers, slice military and civilian pensions, cut the federal workforce by 10 percent, end congressional earmarks, reform the tort system, cut the corporate tax rate, and adopt a “territorial” tax system for multinational firms in which most or all of overseas profits would not be subject to U.S. corporate income tax.

That kind of shared pain, of course, is what gives Simpson-Bowles such potential as a “framework” or “template.” Everyone has some skin in the game.

Simpson-Bowles lets us “know what the options are,” says Boehner. “All we have to do is have real leadership and courage.”

Personally, I'd rather President Obama state that he will veto the real budget buster: the Bush tax cuts. But that's just me.


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