Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Co-Chairs Testify

(Harry Reid is proposing an earmark to boost cowboy poetry, in case you missed that news story)

If you are the POTUS and you appoint a select committee to study the budget, the debt and the deficits, then fail to heed their warnings in a bi-partisan report, you shouldn't be surprised when they show up on Capitol Hill for Senate hearings the next year with precise and pointed criticism of your budget that totally ignores your recommendations. That's exactly what happened last week, beginning with Co-Chair Erskine Bowles, and then Co-Chair Alan Simpson. I guess you have to be out of government and only the titular heads of a committee to get it right. Elected officials, however, seem to be clueless.

That's pretty harsh stuff coming from Alan Simpson, calling Social Security "a Ponzi scheme." Erskine Bowles says "1.6% is NOTHING." And they're both right. There are really only two choices here. Either politicians will take on the entitlement programs and reform them dramatically NOW or the ensuing and impending financial chaos will overtake them, leaving them no options to make decisions -- the day for decisions is today. Passing ongoing two-week extensions with continuing resolutions on the budget without passing a responsible budget with no presidential leadership is a surefire recipe for disaster. If they wait to sample public opinion before they display some guts to do what they are elected to do, they're just kicking the can down the road again and deferring hard choices until a future day when the choices disappear.

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