Thursday, November 29, 2012

Salon: Jeff Madrick: The Next New Deal: "The Simpson-Bowles Consensus Makes no Sense": Why Progressives and Neoconservatives Don't Like Simpson-Bowles

The Simpson-Bowles consensus makes no sense

There's this old saying at least in Washington, that if two sides don't like you, one coming from the right and. The other coming from the left and you are in the middle, you are probably right where you should be, you are probably on the right course. That if the advantage of Centrism is to combine what works from both sides and throw out the garbage coming from both sides. And you combine what works from both sides into a package that works, rather then just splitting the difference on everything. That you are on the right course, thats what you get with the Simpson-Bowles Report on deficit reduction, they. Reached an agreement that combined a lot of things that they wouldn't normally do, as well as things that they. Tend to agree on, Al Simpson is not a Centrist and certainly no one's Liberal for anyone who understands Liberalism. He's a classical Conservative Republican, Barry Goldwater and Ron Reagan are two of his idols, he has a very long. Conservative-Libertarian streak in his politics. Thats common out in the West, get Big Government out of the wallets and bedrooms.

You might be able to make the case that Erskine Bowles is a Centrist, especially when it comes to these economic issues. I would argue that he's a Centrist when it comes to Social Democrats or Progressives but most of the country would be Centrist. Compared with that faction, there 's a long Liberal tradition in the Democratic party of believing in economic freedom and fiscal responsibility. That goes back at least as far as Jack Kennedy, its not Centrist its classical Liberalism, Progressives don't like Erskine. Because he's more of a classical Liberal then a Progressive which he is, Progressives don't like Simpson-Bowles. Because it has entitlement reform, something they've never been in favor of unless its about expanding entitlements. Neoconservatives don't like Simpson-Bowles because it cuts corporate welfare, closes bases in developed countries. That can defend themselves and raises taxes on the wealthy, Simpson-Bowles is on the right course.

I agree the 21% cap as far as what the Federal Government can spend as it relates to GDP and it wouldn't be. Able to spend more then that is arbitrary but guess what as late as just four years ago, thats the percentage of US GDP. That the Feds were spending and then of course we had the Great Recession and the Feds increased that to make up the difference. From all of the money that was lost in the private sector, we are not only out of the Great Recession but if we avoid the fiscal cliff. According to economists like Mark Zandi, we are on course for a big recovery and high economic and job growth. And with our current debt and deficit picture, cutting back to 21% is not an extreme idea, considering historically. Post World War II thats where we have been and we were just there just four years ago.

I'm not a Centrist and I don't like everything in Simpson-Bowles, especially as it relates to Medicare and I would. Scrap the income tax all together and move to a Progressive Consumption Tax but we can get back to 21% without hurting anyone. Who can't afford to be hurt and you do this by requiring that wealthy people on entitlements to pay more into it and even collect less. Or are at least taxed on it, have people who can afford to work longer, do so, close oversee bases in developed countries. That can afford to defend themselves and close wasteful tax loopholes that we can no longer afford including. Corporate welfare and as well as reforming the safety net so its designed to be so effective that it becomes obsolete and block granting. It to the states for them to run, thats what I would do but Simpson-Bowles already has a lot of these provisions in it.