They’ve revamped Simpson-Bowles in order to make it even more one-percent friendly! Shh, you’re not supposed to notice:
In truth, the latest Simpson-Bowles “proposal” looks less like a plan and more like a lobbying tactic – one which changes their own position substantially. As President Obama has met the demands for austerity – unwisely, in our opinion – this new move suggests that the demands will just keep escalating. This new plan keeps up the pressure for government spending cuts that heavily outweigh tax revenue increases. And it heavily weighs those revenue increases in a way that would protect the wealthy and corporations while requiring the middle class to carry most of its weight.
As ThinkProgress’ Jeff Spross notes notes, Simpson and Bowles are “moving the goalposts.” Spross comments that their new proposal “adds an additional $2.4 trillion in savings onto the approximately $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction the United States has already carried out since 2010.” He then explains why their new plan “represents a massive shift away from their own previous target and towards even more spending cuts.”
Simpson and Bowles are re-emphasizing another old theme, too. They’re still singing the gospel of revenue increases funded by “closing loopholes,” an amorphous plan that’s likely to hit the middle class with much more force than it would higher earners. They claim that the tax code is “riddled with well over $1 trillion of tax expenditures – which really are just spending by another name.”
And then they repeat their call for lowering tax rates for corporations and the highest-earning individuals.
Their $1-trillion-plus target for “tax expenditure” elimination can only be reached by targeting employer health plans, home mortgage interest deductions, and other policies that would disproportionately hit the already-beleaguered middle class.
That emphasis is in the best interests of Simpson and Bowles’ primary funders, including billionaire Pete Peterson and the large corporations behind an interlocking web of groups such as “Fix the Debt” and “The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.”
Simpson and Bowles are reiterated their call for benefit cuts to Social Security, using the technique known as “chained CPI” to cut that program’s already-inadequate cost of living increases by 3 percent for the average retired recipient, and considerably more for the disabled and the very elderly. This proposal also uses this mechanism to cut federal employee retirement plans and “the farm program.”
Their proposal repeats the mantra that benefit cuts should include “protections for the most vulnerable,” which would repeat earlier definitions of the “vulnerable” that ignore economic realities for most seniors and disabled Americans. The truth is, a large portion of the elderly is already economically vulnerable.