Some folks never give up

Some people just never give up. Thank the Lord for those kind of people.

Two very persistent people are Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. If you will recall, they were the bipartisan co-chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

The commission’s report on dealing with mounting federal deficits was released on Dec. 1, 2010 – and was promptly relegated to a place in the bottom drawer of both political parties. Heck, it only got the endorsement of 11 of the 18 members of the commission itself.

The problem was the report called for reforming the tax code, revamping entitlement programs and getting rid of government waste – just the sort of prescription that will go nowhere in Washington.

Well, now Bowles and Simpson are back. In an article published in Sunday’s Washington Post, the two patriots implored the political parties to reach a “grand bargain” for fiscal stability on the federal level.

As Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press noted, “There’s enough in their plan for everyone to dislike – revenue increases that make Republicans yelp; program cuts that couldn’t be supported by Democrats.

“But it’s a plan, a starting point.”

And that is the key thing to remember – it is a starting point. And, sooner rather than later, Washington has to get started addressing the issue.

In their Sunday op-ed piece, the commission co-chairs see reason for optimism from December’s budget negotiations and the budget presented by the president. Bowles and Simpson say neither goes far enough – but they are a start.

Their new plan would achieve $2.5 trillion in savings by enhanced revenues and replacing the “mindless cuts of the sequester” with more targeted cutbacks.

Simpson and Bowles conclude their piece by noting:

“Our proposal is not our ideal plan, and it is certainly not the only plan. It is an effort to show that a deal is possible in which neither side compromises its principles but instead relies on principled compromise. Such a deal would invigorate our economy, demonstrate to the public that Washington can solve problems and leave a better future for our grandchildren.”

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.