Actually, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles may have done us all a favor by laying out exactly what has to happen if we’re to sink the deficit without raising taxes on the rich and the affluent upper middle class and without making significant cuts in defense spending (their recommended 15 percent is half of what needs to be done) and without telling the Big Banks and the Big Business Interests they have to stop playing with the economy as if it’s their personal board game.
Simpson and Bowles have drawn up a responsible conservative Republican plan for tackling the deficit.
The thing is there are no responsible conservative Republicans in Congress because the American people don’t want responsible conservative Republican government.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they want responsible liberal Democratic government instead.
They want Tea Party government whose philosophy can pretty much be boiled down to “Everything for me and none for thee.”
As digby has been quick to spot, the Washington Insiders are already rallying round the idea that the reason this Very Serious Proposal for ending the deficit made by Very Serious People won’t get to do the Very Serious Job that all Very Serious People know has to be done is that unserious people on the extreme right and extreme left are going to get in the Very Serious People’s way.
But, leaving aside question of to what degrees liberals and true conservatives are at the extremes of their respective parties, the only responsible and serious plans for cutting the deficit are coming from the far Right and the not quite as far left Left.
Those on the Right want to cut everything to the point that we’d pretty much be left with a federal government that does nothing but guard the borders and put out forest fires.
That’s horrifying, and a little nuts, but it’s serious and responsible in that we wouldn’t be enjoying services and benefits we weren’t paying for.
Those on the Left, liberal Democrats, want to sink the deficit by raising taxes back to Clinton era levels, reining in out of control Medicare costs, making meaningful defense cuts, and increasing revenue by creating more and higher paying jobs.
The people who aren’t serious are establishment Republicans and so-called moderate Democrats.
Establishment Republicans, which is to say the ones who will control the House and lead the minority in the Senate, only want to cut taxes on the rich, de-regulate Wall Street and Big Business, raise not lower defense spending, and screw the poor and the blue collar middle class in ways that don’t inconvenience their own white collar middle class voters. Their only “serious” plan to cut spending is to take nickels and dimes away from people for whom nickels and dimes are the difference between paying the rent and buying groceries this week.
“Moderate” Democrats are Democrats who think that their only hope for saving some liberal programs is to convince establishment Republicans to start acting like responsible conservative Republicans and then compromising on everything with them.
The result of this brilliant strategy is a Democratic President seeming to propose major cuts in Social Security!