Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who stopped being the co-chairs of a failed deficit reduction commission at the end of 2010, are at it again. At some point today they will unveil yet another B-S plan they say will reduce the deficit and debt to manageable levels.
Never mind that they completely failed in 2010 to get their own commission to agree to what they recommended.
Never mind that since the B-S commission failed, Congress has overwhelmingly rejected several efforts that supposedly were based on what the two co-chairs recommended.
And never mind that after these repeated failures neither Bowles nor Simpson have any standing to offer a a new plan that is so politically toxic it has no chance of (1) being taken seriously, (2) jump starting negotiations or (3) having any positive impact whatsoever.
Watching Bowles and Simpson fight for relevancy in the federal budget debate these days is a bit like a rock band from a previous era going on tour but having to play in much smaller venues because its audience is so tiny that the arenas make no sense.
A quick post about the new Bowles-Simpson plan that was announced yesterday because that's all it deserves: It's a total nonstarter.
(If you haven't heard about it, here's Jeanne Sahadi's story from CNMoney.)
Bowles and Simpson didn't have enough support to get their original plan through their own commission in 2010, so why do they or anyone else think their new plan is relevant now that the commission has been disbanded? Bowles and Simpson have no standing and no influence.
The new plan should be seen for what it really is: A desperate plea for attention by two men who have hurt rather than helped their reputations by releasing it. It's the federal budget equivalent of Brett Favre continuing to play for other teams long after he should have just retired.
It won't surprise regular CG&G readers that I don't think much of the Bowles-Simpson commission. My latest podcast -- the second in what will be a series of weekly presentations -- is the stage and screen version of why Bowles-Simpson is not as important as Bowles and Simpson want you to believe.
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.
I've posted so many times before (here, here, here and here, for example) about the utter failure of the Bowles-Simpson commission -- or as I prefer to call it, the B-S commission -- that I had vowed not to do so again no matter how many times some misinformed or misguided politician, columnist, reporter, deficit-reduction-at-any-cost advocate, one of the commission's many apologists or one of its own members referred to it as a success.