off the charts
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Bowles “Compromise” Proposal to the Right of Boehner Offer to Obama in July
At yesterday’s Joint Committee hearing, Erskine Bowles offered what he called a “split-the-difference” compromise between last week’s offer from Senator Max Baucus (and some other Democrats) and the subsequent Republican offer. But because the Baucus offer represented substantial concessions by the Democrats offering it, while the Republican offer represented little or no movement by Republicans, the Bowles “compromise” turns out to be a proposal that’s skewed well to the right. Indeed, it’s to the right of the proposal offered by House Speaker John Boehner in July when he and President Obama were negotiating. The Bowles proposal and the Boehner offer have the same revenue number — $800 billion over ten years, relative to a current-policy baseline that assumes that Congress will make all of President Bush’s tax cuts permanent. That is $1.2 trillion less than the revenue increases recommended with bipartisan support by members of the Bowles-Simpson commission and the Senate’s “Gang of Six.” Relative to the baseline that both of those groups used — which assumed that the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year would expire — the Bowles proposal represents no revenue increase. But while adopting Boehner’s revenue number, the Bowles proposal includes much deeper cuts in basic social programs than Boehner proposed:
- The Bowles proposal has $600 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts, compared to $400 billion in Boehner’s final offer to Obama.
- The Bowles proposal has $300 billion in cuts in other mandatory programs. Boehner and Obama had tentatively agreed on $200 billion to $250 billion.
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