Maybe even more important, they have made some specific proposals that will affect popular programs such as Social Security and popular tax breaks such as the tax deduction for home mortgage interest. They have even suggested a few tax increases, …
Former Sen. Alan Simpson has had a long career in public service, and his latest contribution as co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform may be the greatest service he has provided to the nation.
What Simpson and his co-chairman, Erskine Bowles have done, quite simply, is tell the truth to the American people, that we are all responsible for the current fiscal situation, and fixing it will require sacrifice from all of us.
Maybe even more important, they have made some specific proposals that will affect popular programs such as Social Security and popular tax breaks such as the tax deduction for home mortgage interest. They have even suggested a few tax increases, such as the tax on gasoline.
Making those proposals was a courageous act on the part of Simpson and Bowles. Many of the suggestions they have made have drawn the ire of those who benefit from the government's spending, a group that includes nearly every American. Politicians on both the left and right have criticized them, and members of Wyoming's own Congressional delegation have already rejected some of their proposals.
As a result, it is questionable whether, in the end, we Americans will really bow to reality and support the reforms that Simpson and Bowles believe are needed. We all are under the illusion that somebody else caused the problem and, therefore, someone else should sacrifice, not us.
But by having the courage to tell the truth, the co-chairmen have headed the discussion in the right direction. Both Republicans and Democrats will have to address the merits of not only the spending they have created over the years, but of the tax breaks and loopholes they have created that have made it impossible to fund that spending.
Sen. Simpson is to be commended for having the courage to accept the co-chairmanship of the committee and to use that position to tell the truth to the American people in the face of considerable criticism and sometimes quite personal attacks.
President Obama could not have made a better choice for the task.