November 23, 2010

SS REFORM, A PEACETIME MILITARY BUDGET AND CONSUMPTION TAXES? PINCH ME:

Consensus is forming on what steps to take in cutting the deficit (Lori Montgomery, 11/22/10, Washington Post)

Whatever the outcome, the plan unveiled this month by co-chairmen Erskine B. Bowles, a chief of staff in the Clinton White House, and Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, has been respectfully received with a few exceptions by both parties. Its major elements are also winning support from a striking line-up of commentators.

Former AARP chief Bill Novelli, who sits on a separate budget-balancing panel, has acknowledged the need to trim benefits to make Social Security solvent for future generations. This second panel is chaired by Alice M. Rivlin, a budget director under President Clinton, and Pete Domenici, a former Republican senator from New Mexico.

Former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, a conservative Republican who also sits on their panel, acknowledged the need for more tax revenue, saying lower income-tax rates paired with a national sales tax constitute "for me as a conservative, excellent public policy."

Meanwhile, a chorus of retired military officers and national security experts has backed the call to reduce spending at the Pentagon for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"It is simply not going to be viable, either economically or politically, to exempt defense from the cuts that are coming," said Gordon Adams, who oversaw military budgets during the Clinton administration. "Events over the past two weeks have begun to snowball to put defense, as well as every other form of federal spending, on the table."

The strange bedfellows are a "testament to the moderate nature" of the ideas under discussion,

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 23, 2010 6:40 AM
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