Gang Of Six’s Reasonable $3.7T Debt Plan Calls Republicans’ Bluff

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Barack, Bipartisan, Debt, Deficit, Democrats, Obama, Republicans

Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) just may have come up with something to bridge the gap between Dmes and the Repubs on the debt ceiling negotiations.

It even has Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) coming back to the table…

“The plan has moved significantly, and it’s where we need to be — and it’s a start,” Coburn said. “This doesn’t solve our problems, but it creates the way forward where we can solve our problems.” [...]

Coburn said the plan would reduce the deficit by $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years and increase tax revenues by $1 trillion by closing a variety of special tax breaks and havens.

He also noted, however, that the Congressional Budget Office would score the plan as a $1.5 trillion tax cut because it would eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. It would generate a significant amount of revenue out of tax reform and reduction of tax rates, which authors believe would spur economic growth.

What’s more Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas) says she’ll back it…

“Likely 60 [votes],” she said. “The House should like this plan because it has spending cuts and I believe it will spur the economy.”

Hutchison said she would vote for it and urged House Republicans to back it as well.

“It think that they have produced something that has mechanisms that are concrete, and that’s what I think the House is looking for, and [so are we],” she said.

So…is this now a Gang of Seven?

And we just now hear that Obama is in favor…

In an appearance in the White House briefing room, Obama urged congressional leaders to embrace the proposal, which contains both significant cuts and a revenue component. The plan is, he said, “broadly consistent with the approach that I’ve urged: what it says is we’ve got to be serious about reducing discretionary spending, both in domestic spending and defense, we’ve got to be serious about tackling health care spending, and entitlements in a serious way, and we’ve got to have some additional revenue.”

In all, Obama said, the group’s plan amounts to “an approach in which there is shared sacrifice and everybody is giving up something.”

If you want to take a look at the proposal, check out a pdf here.

In other news, Republicans are set to vote on “Cut, Cap and Balance,” which is little more than a symbolic gesture to their base. After that, I’m sure many will start to fall in line with the Gang’s recommends.

Or at least let’s hope…


This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 and is filed under Barack, Bipartisan, Debt, Deficit, Democrats, Obama, Republicans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

25 Responses to “Gang Of Six’s Reasonable $3.7T Debt Plan Calls Republicans’ Bluff”

  1. Mike A. Says:

    and now…things get real interesting!

  2. Russ G. Says:

    It’s a step; more specifics would be good. But where’s the proposal to fix the social security and medicare eligibility ages? These days, 65 is way too young, and that’s a major reason that those costs are out of control.

  3. gerryf Says:

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY EVERYONE!!!

    Today is the 10 Year Anniversary of the day the Bush tax cuts took us from a budget surplus to a budget deficit.

    Ahh, if only we could go back to those halcyon days where tea-baggers and disingenuous Republicans had nothing to use as a sledge hammer against common sense government.

    Ahh, but despite the bogus claims that cutting taxes leads to more revenue, here we are mired a debt crisis.

    I miss the days when people could look at the idea of Jude Sinniski and Arthur Laffer and scoff at their crackpot notions; instead, today the two are venerated as brilliant despite 30 years of evidence to the contrary.

    Repeat after me folks–the GOP has no credibility on deficits unless you think creating them is a good idea.

  4. Aaron Says:

    After reading over the plan, I think I like it.

  5. SpkTruth2Pwr Says:

    Wow…ir actually does sound reasonable and balanced.

  6. centerist cynic Says:

    Since it looks reasonable I will not be surprised when it fails. I can always hope.

  7. kranky kritter Says:

    moderated yet again

  8. mdgeorge Says:

    Is it possible to lower the moderation threshold? It seems to be slowing down the conversation a lot here.

  9. Gerryf Says:

    don’t mind being moderated so much, just don’t care for the lapse between post and appearance

  10. Tillyosu Says:

    Hey Gerry, that was an interesting and thoughtful comment, but I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me:

    Today is the 10 Year Anniversary of the day the Bush tax cuts took us from a budget surplus to a budget deficit.

    If the Clinton budget actually did produce a surplus, then why did the national debt increase every single year of the Clinton presidency?

    Ahh, if only we could go back to those halcyon days where tea-baggers and disingenuous Republicans had nothing to use as a sledge hammer against common sense government.

    Do you really believe that running annual deficits that exceed $1 trillion constitutes “common sense government” and, if so, were the deficits under Bush more or less sensible to you?

    Ahh, but despite the bogus claims that cutting taxes leads to more revenue, here we are mired a debt crisis.

    If cutting taxes never leads to more revenue, then can you explain how tax revenues from income taxes increased every year from 2003, when the Bush tax cuts were finalized, to 2009, when the recession shrunk the economy?

    Also, if we are mired in a “debt crisis”, would you agree that Obama deserves a large part of the blame, considering that he has increased the national debt by some 35% in less than one term?

    Consider this: under 8 years of Bush, the national debt went from about $5.7 trillion to $10.7 trillion – an increase of $5 trillion. Under Obama, the debt has increased from $10.7 trillion, to $14.3 trillion. That’s an increase of $3.6 trillion in less than 2.5 years. So I ask you, who’s really responsible for the “debt crisis”?

  11. michael mcEachran Says:

    @ Russ G. Says: “…where’s the proposal to fix the social security and medicare eligibility ages? These days, 65 is way too young, and that’s a major reason that those costs are out of control.”

    Totally agree. I’m 42, liberal (fiscally conservative) and I would happily agree to raise the eligibility age for me and those younger. We’re living longer, so it makes sense. Medicare and SS were intended for the very old; back then 65 was ancient. Nowadays 65 is the new 45, right? Problem is older people are easy to scare, and even if you promise them an increase in elibility age won’t affect them, they freak, and go to the polls. I propose we put it to a vote but only allow those of us to vote who will be affected.

  12. michael mcEachran Says:

    Obama press conference: Obama at long last gives the House Republicans the spanking they so obviously deserve. Poor Boehner. He’s probably still out back smoking his third pack of cigarettes. He’s damned if he does; damned if he doesn’t. Obama’s last sentence: “If you want to be leader, then at some point you have to lead.” That was directed right at the Speaker. So, now what, Boehner?

  13. Demise Says:

    Bush tax cuts….3.7 trillion in lost Revenue.

    Deficit Increased by 9 trillion in the last 11 years.

    Democrats in charge of both houses from 2007 on and all 3 houses from 2009 on.

    Ya’ll are big boys and girls. You do the math.

    As for me We have a spending problem no matter who is in charge. FUK them all.

  14. cranky critter Says:

    Totally agree. I’m 42, liberal (fiscally conservative) and I would happily agree to raise the eligibility age for me and those younger. We’re living longer, so it makes sense. Medicare and SS were intended for the very old; back then 65 was ancient. Nowadays 65 is the new 45, right? Problem is older people are easy to scare, and even if you promise them an increase in elibility age won’t affect them, they freak, and go to the polls. I propose we put it to a vote but only allow those of us to vote who will be affected.

    65 is not the new 45, you’re off by at least 15 years. 65 MIGHT be the new 60, but that’s about it. People really start to slow down in their late 60s and early 70s. How much work and what kinds can people thta age handle?

    I might have even agreed with you when I was 42, but at 47 I can see how and where it creeps in, and the long-term trends. I am now very skeptical that the retirement age dial can be moved more than a 2-5 years over the next generation. The people to ask, though, are not your or I, but those who study geriatrics.

    And old people themselves. I bet that if you did a survey by age, you’d find people being unrealistic and optimistic about what they can handle into their mid 40s, and then a steady drop off as reality hits. God starts to take away stuff with no intention of giving it back.

  15. mdgeorge Says:

    I agree with cc, and will add that the effects of aging are also felt more severely by those of lower socioeconomic status. I know sitting in front of a computer all day is not taxing my body nearly as much as those who are on their feet all day doing real work. That’s compounded by the decreased access to health care, nutrition, and so on.

    Poor people get older faster. Increasing the retirement age is a regressive policy.

  16. Tillyosu Says:

    3 days and my comment still has not been published. This blog is not even worth visiting anymore…

  17. kranky kritter Says:

    I agree with Tilyosu that the moderation is having a stifling effect on the blog. I am far more likely to enjoy a visit rise of the center these days than donklephant. I encourage others to check it out. Pretty good blog. More policy oriented, less oriented to popular ranting.

    I am very curious to see what move Obama makes via his speech tonight. I am praying he promises to veto anything that fails to include tax increases/revenue, whatever you want to call it. I believe 60% or more of Americans are with Obama on the equity issue. I know some folks dispute that framing, but I buy it. I’m with him 100%.

  18. Aaron Says:

    @mdgeorge – I’d replace “real work” with “physical labor.” And I assure you I do plenty of physical labor in the computer industry. Those servers won’t lift themselves! :)

    Joking aside, your point is a good one.

  19. michael mcEachran Says:

    I’m depressed.

  20. chad Says:

    Its not bush or obamas fault its the U.S governments fault..we suck.. the end

  21. Blackie Says:

    @tillyosu: Consider this: under 8 years of Bush, the national debt went from about $5.7 trillion to $10.7 trillion – an increase of $5 trillion. Under Obama, the debt has increased from $10.7 trillion, to $14.3 trillion. That’s an increase of $3.6 trillion in less than 2.5 years. So I ask you, who’s really responsible for the “debt crisis”?

    This completely ignores the fact that many of the events which have sped the debt growth these last few years are due to outside forces or shocks. You may disagree with stimulus spending, but it’s a reaction to an economic environment. Even our two wars are reactions to being attacked. What were the Bush tax cuts and the Medicare drug bill reactions to? To fat a bank account? But the surplus was just sitting there…

  22. Tillyosu Says:

    @ blackie

    That may be the most asinine argument I’ve ever heard. EVERY spending or policy decision made by EVERY president has a reason.

    Did the 9/11 attacks warrant an invasion of Iraq? In retrospect, many would argue no. Did the 2008 recession warrant a trillion dollar stimulus? Again, I think in retrospect, MANY WOULD ARGUE NO.

    Similarly, the Bush tax cuts or the Medicare drug bill had REASONS they were enacted.

    My point is that the fact that an executive feels he has a very good reason for a decision is immaterial – they all do. But what you’re trying to imply is that objectively Obama had a very good reason for all of his policy decisions, while Bush did not. That’s fine if that’s what you believe, but come right out and say it. I, for one, disagree.

  23. kranky kritter Says:

    Did the 2008 recession warrant a trillion dollar stimulus? Again, I think in retrospect, MANY WOULD ARGUE NO.

    An interesting question. Suppose the economy goes back into the tank as federal stimulus dollars dry up and the fed’l budget undergoes further cuts. Given that additional bit of hindsight, I wonder what folks will argue.

    Right now, I think it’s easy for all of us to accept that the stimulus didn’t rev up the economy to anywhere near the health that we had hoped. Plain as the noses on our faces, right? That’s a very different question than the one as to whether it did any good.

    Upfront, I don’t pretend to know with any measure of certainty. But it seems reasonable to think that all that money propped things up and kept some things going that might have failed otherwise. Now with the flow dwindling, seems like things are in danger of drying up again.

    That’s not any argument by me for more mountains of gov’t spending and bigger debt. I’ve spent the last 3 years saying that the overspending rates that began with the last Bush budget were particularly unsustainable, and I haven’t changed my mind.

    But we’ve got to get past the fingerpointing about what everyone else has done wrong to being us to where we are and find a way to solid ground.

  24. Donklephant » Blog Archive » When “Bad” Bipartisanship Happens to “Good” Partisans Says:

    […] the plan formulated by the Simpson-Bowles committee, just like the bipartisan plan floated by the Gang of Six Senators, and just like the bipartisan “Grand Bargain” negotiation between President Obama and […]

  25. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Obama Vs. Bush: A Debt Illustration Says:

    […] Listen, default or downgrade isn’t an option. Somehow they’ll get this figured out. But as far as my opinion goes…I’m for the Gang of Six’s plan. […]

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