Potomac Fever is the blog of the Hamilton College Semester in Washington Program.
I appreciate the fact that this NRO article implies that it's shocking- absolutely shocking!- that even liberals (gasp!) have agreed that we need to address our deficits and fiscal trajectory. Uhm- fact check! Let’s compare the Clinton presidency versus the Bush jr. one? How did the alliance of Congressional conservatives and Dubya work out? Oh yeah- the “guns and butter” strategy, combined with massive tax cuts for everyone (but always flowing most of the benefits to the wealthiest Americans. You betcha!) If the author had any appreciation for history, they’d know that liberals have been leaders on pushing fiscal restraint for decade, and when they’re in charge of Congress and the Presidency they actually have a much better record on the issue. Of course, I’ll acknowledge the important contributions of many moderate conservatives (and more extreme ones as well, though they really are focused on spending reduction as opposed to deficit reduction) to trying to bring some level of fiscal restraint to our government. Otherwise, the article made good points- everything should be on the table and kept on the table (defense, Social Security, taxes, etc.). There are problems with Bowles-Simpson and what the Gang of Six is considering, but they have the right approach- a comprehensive, everyone-jumps-in-the-boat simultaneously, approach. I think we can all agree with the Bowles-Simpson principles on deficit reduction (from my notes on their testimony before the Senate Budget Committee): (paraphrased) 1) concerned over cutting too much too soon due to the fragile economic recovery, 2) not wanting to harm the truly disadvantaged, 3) cutting defense spending that is so high, 4) eliminating low-value investments, 5) reforming the tax code, and 6) cutting spending wherever they find it. I’d be happy to say more about the Gang of Six in the future (later tonight, off the blog). You’ve posted a bunch of articles about them, Professor Eismeier, so I assume you’re very interested in what they’re doing and hopeful they’ll succeed.
It's too bad Marlon Brando isn't around to play Kent Conrad in what promises to be the next great gangster movie...
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