Thursday, February 14, 2013

Simpson Bowles 2.0

Tonight at the Baltimore Speaker Series, Erskine Bowles boiled the country’s fiscal crisis down to five issues: healthcare, defense, social security, the tax code and compounding interest. The former chief of staff to Bill Clinton also expressed his disappointment with President Obama for not embracing the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that he co-chaired with former Repub Senator Alan Simpson.

Erksine was entertaining and a bit scary too. As he sees it, if Congress and the president fail to proactively take bold measures to fix the nation’s deficit on their own, a crisis of epic proportions will force them to, sooner rather than later. He said that when they first started working on the commission he believed this was something we needed to do for our grandchildren. He now believes the problem is much more urgent. “We need to do this, not for our grandchildren or even our children. We need to do this for us.”

To point out the absurdity of our current situation, he noted that we are bound by treaty to protect Taiwan from an attack by China but we’d have to borrow money from China in order to do so.

Once again the speaker series did not disappoint.

The good news is that he and Alan have not given up. They have launched a grassroots efforts “The Can Kicks Back,” as well as an online petition “Fix the Debt” to encourage citizens to get involved. Erskine also told the audience that next Tuesday they will announce a joint effort with Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin and their Debt Reduction Task Force to apply a full court press on Congress. He called it Simpson Bowles 2.0.

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