One of the things for which President Barack Obama deserves great credit is his appointment of a deficit-reduction commission, led by former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, and former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, a Republican. "Simpson-Bowles" formulated a plan that involved tax hikes on wealthier Americans, in addition to twice as much, or more, reductions in federal spending.
This commission was comprised of Republicans and Democrats, and a majority actually approved the plan. It wasn't perfect, but the proposal took aim at the nation's debt and deficit problems in a serious, adult manner. Perhaps one of its most important contributions was illuminating the reality of the pending fiscal disaster, letting Americans know that change must come.
What happened to the plan? President Obama ignored it and reverted to partisan politics. Yes, he ignored the work of his own commission. Then he torpedoed deficit-reduction talks with House Speaker John Boehner. The two sides had a deal in hand in 2011, and then Obama changed his demands. Why? Fundamentally, the president does not want a leaner government that lives within its means. He wants European-style socialism. That means higher taxes and bigger budgets. This has led to the ongoing budget standoff in Washington.
But the adults are back. Simpson and Bowles issued another call for fiscal sanity on Tuesday. They aim to reduce the deficit $2.4 trillion over the next decade. Their formula envisions health care reform, tax reform and mandatory spending cuts. It is not a radical plan. It cannot even be called conservative. But it's a plan that recognizes something the president will not: The United States has a spending problem. It's shocking that our "leader" thinks otherwise.