Obama panel won't rule out higher taxes to reduce deficit
(McClatchy Newspapers) -- By Margaret Talev and Barbara Barrett --
WASHINGTON — The Democratic co-chairman of the bipartisan deficit-reduction commission that President Obama created Thursday said "everything is on the table" — including raising taxes and cutting Medicare and Social Security — but declined to discuss his preferences or predict what proposals will prevail.
"Everything is everything," Erskine Bowles said. "I don't think you're going to be able to get there if you take anything off the table. We've got to look at good ideas, bad ideas and think about all of them."
Bowles, 64, is a former White House chief of staff under President Clinton and currently president of the University of North Carolina system.
Obama also used the phrase "everything is on the table" as he signed an executive order to create the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
With the total federal debt next year expected to exceed $14 trillion — about $47,000 for every American — the 18-member commission is to make nonbinding recommendations to Congress by Dec. 1 on how to reduce the government's annual deficits to 3 percent of the national economy by 2015.
The deficit was $1.4 trillion last year and is expected to reach $1.56 trillion this year. Medicare insolvency is projected in seven years. By 2020, Obama projects the national debt will have grown to more than 77 percent of the the gross domestic product (GDP) — the market value of all goods and services produced in the country. That would mark the highest level since 1950 and would be enough to threaten future economic growth and erode U.S. living standards...
"Americans know our problem is not that we tax too little, but that Washington spends too much — that should be the focus of this commission," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement...
"We already have a commission to confront our debt. It's called the United States Congress," said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. "If members of Congress aren't up to that task, we don't need a new commission; we need a new Congress."...MORE...LINK
Chris Moore comments:
Indeed, we do need a new Congress -- a Congress of Ron Pauls, who will end Big Government and Big Government Unions, end Big Business welfare and the Corporatist war profiteering complex, and end the unnecessary Big Wars.
What we don't need are more Big Government Obama/Bushcon/Neocon socialists and fascists, who today act surprised that we are in such a bind, and are desperate to find a way to continue to to slather pork, luxuries, inflated salaries, liberal benefits and the good life upon themselves, their cronies, their political coalitions and their pet wars by redistributing wealth from those who actually work for a living, or who have been paying into Medicare and Social Security (both of which are looking more and more like a pyramid scheme) for decades, only to now be told it is they who have to tighten their belts instead of the Washington parasites, spendthrifts, and their cronies who have been robbing the country blind to for years on end.