Simpson-Bowles Redux

There have been renewed talk about reviving the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles recommendations as a Republican bargaining strategy. Though the package isn’t perfect – Republicans cringe at the tax increases while Democrats despise the spending cuts – in many ways, it seems better and more reasonable than some of the other offers currently on the table.

Simpson-Bowles could work under two circumstances: 1) Congress must first repeal the $1 trillion/year spending binge we’ve seen during the first Obama administration and start at FY2008 budget levels; and 2) the deal must include the healthcare revisions that were contained (and subsequently removed by Obama before the final draft) in the original Simpson-Bowles negotiations.

The virtues of Simpson-Bowles right now are that it includes entitlement reform, reigns in spending better than other current proposals, simplifies the tax code, and most importantly, is a bipartisan commission that originated from President Obama. Simpson-Bowles isn’t perfect, but it could be doable. And because Simpson-Bowles originally had more Democrat support than Republican support, it would put the Democrats in a tough spot if they rejected it now during the fiscal cliff talks.

Coming off the fresh wounds of the staggering Romney loss, the Simpson-Bowles package may be just what the Republicans need as a rallying point in order to emerge as the winners of this current standoff crisis.

Crossposted at

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