As usual, Paul Krugman gets to the heart of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform:
Itâ€™s no mystery what has happened on the deficit commission: as so often happens in modern Washington, a process meant to deal with real problems has been hijacked on behalf of an ideological agenda. Under the guise of facing our fiscal problems, Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson are trying to smuggle in the same old, same old â€” tax cuts for the rich and erosion of the social safety net.
At TPM, Brian Beutler points out that following the Catfood Commission’s recommendations (which are not official), would require dismantling the health care reform law enacted this past spring.
That’s the view of prominent economists who’ve examined both the Simpson-Bowles plan and the health care law. Wednesday’s plan calls for strict limits on federal health spending and the amount of revenue the government can collect via taxation. But the Affordable Care Act expands insurance coverage by increasing both taxes and spending and, with health care costs soaring, it would have a hard time meeting the commissioners’ requirements.
A number of economists, including Brad DeLong, are saying that the stipulations of the Commission would require not just dismantling the Affordable Care Act but Medicare as we know it as well.
What’s worse, there appears to be a kind of circling of the wagons in Washington, protecting the Commission from the wild mob outside the Beltway that is reacting against it. Already media is hinting that anyone who is adamantly opposed to gutting Medicare or raising the retirement age is an extremist, whereas reasonable people are soberly considering these things because they have to make tough choices (i.e., tax cuts for the rich and erosion of the social safety net).
And how come tax increases for the rich isn’t a “tough choice,” but unthinkable?