Deficit Commission Hijacked By the Right

Krugman: It's yet another soak-the-poor scheme
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2010 12:58 PM CST
Erskine Bowles, left, accompanied by former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, co-chairmen of President Barack Obama's bipartisan deficit commission, gestures while speaking on Capitol Hill, Nov. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – Paul Krugman had a bad feeling about the president’s deficit commission when co-chair Alan Simpson likened Social Security to “a milk cow with 310 million tits.” The suggestions put forward Wednesday haven’t improved his opinion. Simpson, and Democrat Erskine Bowles, proposed a truly “bipartisan” plan—meaning “as it so often does in Washington, a compromise between the center-right and the hard-right,” Krugman writes in the New York Times. Deficit reduction is literally listed as its last priority in its taxes section—“Lower rates” is first.

Actually, the chairmen want to lower rates only for the wealthy—they’d raise middle-class taxes by removing important deductions, like health benefits. They want to increase the retirement age to 69, which sounds fine for well-paid office workers, but less so for laborers. The plan’s reduction estimates, meanwhile, are driven by the assumption that health care costs will stop rising. Congress, they assure us, will “regularly evaluate cost growth” and take “additional steps as needed.” Yeah, that’ll work.

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