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Wednesday
Nov102010

Debt Commission Plan 'Dead on Arrival'?

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – President Obama’s debt commission has announced a proposal to not only stabilize but cut the soaring national debt by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has proposed a plan that would impose strict budget rules including $2 trillion in spending cuts, $1 trillion in tax increases, means-testing Social Security and increasing the retirement age to 69 by 2075. The proposal would also force lawmakers to set long-term borrowing goals that could be met with further tax increases and spending cuts if gone unmet.

A congressional aide close to the commission called the proposal "dead on arrival."

"For members that have to get re-elected there are some things in here that are tough to swallow, such as raising the gas tax, upping the retirement age for Social Security, and cutting the mortgage interest deduction," the aide said. "It just goes to show how difficult deficit reduction really is."

And he may be right. Released Wednesday, the plan has already drawn staunch opposition. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quickly released a statement to show her disapproval.

"This proposal is simply unacceptable," Pelosi said. "Any final proposal from the Commission should do what is right for our children and grandchildren’s economic security as well as for our nation’s fiscal security, and it must do what is right for our seniors, who are counting on the bedrock promises of Social Security and Medicare."

Others, like Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, have hailed the plan as "remarkable."

"This plan does it all - allows time for the economy to strengthen, brings down future deficits and debt, protects the most disadvantaged, makes government more effective and efficient, and promotes economic growth and competiveness," MacGuineas said.

David Walker, the former Comptroller General of the United States, called the proposal a "commendable, comprehensive, aggressive and good faith effort" that "puts ‘everything on the table.’"

White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton has said President Obama will hold his comments on the plan until after the commission finishes work on the proposal.

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