The deficit reduction mavericks are back. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles failed to get Washington to accept their original deficit reduction plan at the end of 2010; but this bipartisan duo is rolling out a revamped plan– and more tough talk aimed at both Congress and the President.
"They haven't done any of the tough stuff, any of the important stuff, they haven't reformed the tax code...they haven't done anything to slow the rate of health care to the rate of growth of the economy, they haven't made Social Security sustainably solvent. There's about $2.4 trillion more of hard work we've gotta do," former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles tells Politics Confidential.
In their new plan, Simpson and Bowles call for a variety of measures that would shrink the nation's deficit, ranging from decreasing discretionary spending to reforming government programs to make them more sustainable. Simpson gets particularly passionate when talking about reforming programs utilized by the country's growing aging population, such as Medicare and Social Security, describing our current path as "madness."
"10,000 [Americans] a day are turning 65," says the former senator from Wyoming. "This is madness. And life expectancy is 78.1, and in 5 years will be 80. Who is kidding who? This will eat a hole through America."
Simpson points out that all the suggestions they've offered to reform Medicare and Social Security would be gradual and would not affect anyone over the age of 60.
To hear more about Simpson and Bowles new plan to deal with the country's fiscal problems, and to hear their thoughts about the impending sequestration on March 1, check out this week's Politics Confidential.