Entries in Erksine Bowles (2)


Simpson and Bowles Keep Pushing with New Deficit Plan

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are at it again.

Their broad deficit-reduction proposal failed to catch on following its release in December 2010, but the two have remained vocal about the nation's fiscal future.  In a recent op-ed published by Politico, they called the recent, year-end tax deal "pitiful," and urged serious, long-term reforms.

On Tuesday morning, they're pushing a re-hashed plan to slow the nation's debt growth and put it on a more stable path, essentially fitting their old plan into a new timeline and pushing leaders in Washington, D.C., to adopt a piecemeal approach to fiscal reform. Taking into account actions that Congress and President Obama have taken in the last two years, Simpson and Bowles say tax and spending reforms don't have to happen all at once.

Counting the 2011 budget talks and the recent tax deal as steps one and two, Simpson and Bowles issued a call for two more big steps -- which include measures like lowering the growth of Medicare and Medicaid payments to providers; lowering drug costs; enacting Social Security reforms; adopting a "chained CPI" to reduce the growth of Social Security payments and other spending tied to inflation; and reforming the tax code.

Those proposals (or, at the very least, proposals like them) were included in the original plan approved by Obama's fiscal commission, which Simpson and Bowles led.  That plan offered more specifics on how to achieve the goals laid out by Simpson and Bowles Tuesday morning.

Most of these remaining steps should happen in the next two years, according to Simpson and Bowles' timeline.

"There is no perfect solution to our fiscal problems," the two wrote, introducing the new plan.  "However, we believe strongly and sincerely that an agreement on a comprehensive plan to bring our debt under control is possible if both sides are able to put their sacred cows on the table in the spirit of principled compromised."

They also took Congress and Obama to task once again for the year-end tax deal, blasting it for leaving in place "the abrupt, mindless, and across-the-board spending cuts of the sequester."

Here is the list Simpson and Bowles released to reporters, detailing their plan:

Step 3: Enact Serious Tax and Entitlement Reforms and Cut Additional Spending (~$2.4 trillion)

  • Reduce Medicare and Medicaid spending by improving provider and beneficiary incentives throughout the health care system, reducing provider payments, reforming cost-sharing, increasing premiums for higher earners, adjusting benefits to account for population aging, reducing drug costs, and getting better value for our health care dollars (Feb-Dec 2013)
  • 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)

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bowles, Simpson Challenge Super Committee to 'Go Big' with Deficit Reduction

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of last year’s Fiscal Commission, challenged the Super Committee to “Go Big” and surpass its $1.5-trillion deficit reduction goal.
“As you begin your important work to reach a deficit reduction agreement, we urge you to ‘go big’ and develop a large-scale debt reduction package sufficient to stabilize the debt as a share of the economy,” a letter from Bowles, Simpson and over 60 other business experts to the Super Committee reads.
“We believe that a 'go big' approach that goes well beyond the $1.5-trillion deficit reduction goal that the Committee has been charged with and includes major reforms of entitlement programs and the tax code is necessary to bring the debt down to a manageable and sustainable level, improve the long-term fiscal imbalance, reassure markets, and restore Americans’ faith in the political system.”
Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, called the Super Committee’s $1.5-trillion goal “peanuts” compared to what’s actually needed to effectively reduce the deficit.  Last year, the Fiscal Commission developed a plan to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion in 10 years, but it failed to obtain the supermajority votes needed to pass.
The commission’s proposal contained bold initiatives such as raising the eligibility age to receive Social Security to 69, increasing the gas tax by 15 cents a gallon, making cuts to Medicare and slashing tax rates for corporations and the wealthiest in the country.
“When we put this out, they laughed. They all sat around and chuckled and said -- Boy these guys are goofy and came up with something here that can’t possibly work,” Simpson said.
“The $4 trillion number that Al brought up is not a number that we’ve made up.  I’ve said often that we didn’t get to that number by a number four bus passing us on the street,” Bowles, who served as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, said.  “Four trillion is not the maximum amount we need to do.  It’s not ideal amount.  It is the minimum amount we need to do is stabilize the debt.”
Bowles and Simpson warned the Super Committee must exhaust all options when determining where to make cuts in spending because the luxury of time has run out.
“We don’t have that luxury anymore.  We need to act and we need to act now.  We need to do this to reassure the markets,” Bowles said.  “Everything’s on the table, and for us to reach this grand bargain everything must be on the table if we’re really going to address our long-term fiscal problems.”
“We’re here to talk to you,” Simpson said. “We don’t do B.S., and we don’t do mush, and if you’re looking for B.S. and mush just watch every congressperson who talks about cutting the deficit and telling you nothing about how to do it.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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