The real agenda behind the Catfood Commission leaders, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, has now been revealed with a Simpson-Bowles 2.0 plan, which they're proposing as a grand bargain alternative to the sequester. Where in the original proposal, they had to work with others—including some genuine Democrats—to create their plan, this is all them and their Fix the Debt corporate bigwigs. Accordingly, whereas the original had a roughly one-to-one spending cuts to new revenue formula, this one is three-to-one cuts to revenue. Here's what that looks like:
In true B-S fashion, the proposal is heavier on deficit-hysteria rhetoric than concrete policy proposals. How big will those discretionary cuts be? They don't say. Are there any specific policy recommendations beyond the chained CPI for Social Security and veterans benefits? Of course not. This is all about "pro-growth tax reform" that means more corporate tax breaks, and "enacting serious entitlement reform," which of course means starving grandma because, they note, “the aging of the population represents a significant driver of our growing debt.”
- Reduce Medicare and Medicaid spending by improving provider and beneficiary incentives throughout the health care system, reducing provider payments, reforming cost-sharing, increasing premiums for higher earners, adjusting benefits to account for population aging, reducing drug costs, and getting better value for our health care dollars (Feb-Dec 2013)
- Enact comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform that eliminates or scales back most tax expenditures, with a portion of savings from tax expenditures dedicated to deficit reduction and the additional savings used to reduce rates and simplify the tax code (Feb-Dec 2013)
- Strengthen limits on discretionary spending (Feb-Dec 2013)
- Reduce non-health mandatory spending by reforming farm subsidies, modernizing civilian and military health and retirement programs, imposing various user fees, reforming higher education spending, and making other changes (Feb-Dec 2013)
- Adopt chained CPI for indexing and achieve savings from program integrity (Feb-Dec 2013)
The corporate sponsors behind Simpson and Bowles must be very pleased. But this plan is likely to be even more unpopular with the actual people of the country than the original.