Sullivan explains that the “misunderstanding is because of inconsistent use of baselines. Back in 2010, the Bowles-Simpson plan computed savings over an eight-year period and used a baseline that assumed the Bush tax cuts would not be extended for the wealthy.”
Our paper shows that, relative to an updated baseline that covers the coming ten years and assumes that policymakers extend the upper-income tax cuts (as well as other expiring policies), the Bowles-Simpson plan outlined in 2010 would raise revenues by $2.6 trillion and cut spending by $2.9 trillion. (Policymakers have since enacted $1.5 trillion of those spending cuts.) Together with the resulting interest savings, the plan would reduce the deficit by $6.3 trillion.