StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Paul Krugman Reminds Us That Bowles-Simpson Was Terrible

01 Oct 2012
Posted by Stan Collender

Over at his own blog, Paul Krugman says something that can't be said enough: The plan Bowles and Simpson proposed would have been terrible fiscal policy had it been adopted.

Krugman doesn't include one other thing that also needs to be repeated again and again and again: The plan announced by Bowles and Simpson was not adopted by the Bowles-Simpson commission. It was just something proposed by the two co-chairs that didn't have enough support to move forward.

In fact, there wasn't even a formal vote. Bowles and Simpson decided not to take a formal vote when it became clear that their plan was only supported by 11 of the 14 members of the commission that were needed to move it forward.

For the record, the three B-S commission (yes, I'm calling it that intentionally) members whose support would have moved the plan forward but whose opposition killed it were House Budget Committee and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), and House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

What makes this more infuriating is how Bowles and Simpson have been hawking their plan as the official final report of the B-S commission. Again, for the record, there was no report and Bowles and Simpson are lying when they refer to it that way.


Thanks for saying this!

BS Commission (yes let's all call it what it is)

It's also not commonly enough noted that the Medicaid/Medicare cost containment part of the report on restraining growth in medical costs was totally hand-waving; ridiculous!

As CBPP noted: "The plan proposes to contain growth after 2020 in federal health expenditures for these programs and the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored insurance to no more than 1 percent more per year than the rate of growth in GDP.
Tough, but rational, targets for slowing health care cost growth virtually always are based on per- beneficiary costs, not aggregate costs. For example, the target for Medicare cost growth that the Independent Payment Advisory Board established by the health reform law must hit is GDP plus 1 percent per beneficiary.The difference here is crucial. The Bowles-Simpson target is for total health program costs, rather than costs per beneficiary, to rise no faster than GDP+1; that would likely lead to draconian results. It would mean that as the share of the population that is elderly increases, cuts of increasing severity likely would have to be made in Medicaid and Medicare to fit total federal health-care expenditures within an entirely unrealistic constraint."

As Stan Collender said at the time ( ): "Bowles-Simpson also doesn't add up because it relies on a variety of what in the past would have been ridiculed as budget gimmicks, such as mandating limits on certain costs without providing any real way of actually making that happen."

It's not a plan, it's a joke; and it makes me sick to see it constantly, favorably talked about!

Let's ALL call it the BS Commission (it also deserves its other name, the Catfood Commission).

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