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Don't Let Deficit Panel Co-Chairs Hype a Bad Plan, Embrace the Progressive Alternative That Saves Social Security

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From The Nation

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform failed to produce a mandate for assaulting Social Security, undermining Medicare and Medicaid and generally balancing the budget on the backs of working Americans.

But that hasn't stopped its co-chairmen from claiming a sort of victory for their plan to make Main Street pay for Wall Street's failures.

Their goal is obvious. Commission co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles want to spin a win they did not achieve in order to foster the false impression that their ominously titled " Moment of Truth" proposal is the only real alternative to fiscal ruin. That's not the case. There are better proposals--such as the detailed alternative to austerity outlined by commission member Jan Schakowsky. But this is a critical juncture, and progressives need to be conscious that an effort will be made to narrow the range of options and impose key elements of a bad plan that failed to gain required support.

Let's start by getting a few things straight:

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The commission was given a clear charge when President Obama cobbled it together in February--after failing to win congressional support for the formal launch of the project.

The commission was to come up with a plan to address deficits, debts and the challenge of maintaining a federal government at a point when revenues are not sufficient to keep paying for every war, bailout and boondoggle that comes along.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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