WHERE IS THE PROGRESSIVE LONG-TERM BUDGET FOR AMERICA?
By Kevin A. Stoda
Last week two recommendations were made on how to handle long-term budget troubles in the USA. One was a duo appointed by Obama. These were Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson--both longterm Washington insiders. They proposed (1) raising the retirement age for Social Security to 69 by the year 2075, (2) decreasing the cost of living benefits for Social Security recipients, (3) imposing new limits on the Medicare health insurance program, and (4) ending several middle-class tax breaks.
A less-talked about proposal was certainly more sane. This was the proposal from the Peterson-Pew Commission--and is referred to by Robert Kuttner on his slashing of the Bowles-Simpson proposal in a radio interview recently..
The Peterson-Pew Proposal would require the government branches to work together on long term budgets and keep them within spending bands and targets--ones that can be negotiated through times of catastrophe and times of abundance. (However, this sort of proposal does not include a solid set of progressive prerogatives.)
Robert Kuttner stated, concerning the ridiculous and anti-American anti-Progressive Bowles and Simpson proposal, that Bowles had no business what-so-ever not recusing himself from being on such an important committee: Bowle i s "on the board of directors on one of the top five banks that would actually be taxed if you taxed financial speculation. . . .. I mean, if Obama had put, you know, Rich Trumka as one of the two co-chairs, the right would be screaming bloody murder, and so would Wall Street. And yet, Wall Street got one of its people, not as the Republican co-chair, but as the Democrat co-chair."