• CBPP Analysis of Dem Supercommittee offer

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has a new paper analyzing the recent Democratic offer to the Supercommittee (called Democratic Offer in tables) below, that concludes that it is “to the right” of the President’s Fiscal Commission as well as the Gang of 6 proposal from the summer.

    The Democratic proposal contains around $900 Billion ($2.2 Trillion v. $1.3 Trillion) less in tax increases than did the Fiscal Commission and has higher cuts from Medicare and Medicaid and other programs, when using current policy as the baseline (Table 1). When using the Fiscal Commission’s “Plausible Policy” as baseline, the amount of revenue raised by the Democratic Supercommittee proposal is far less ($1.3 Trillion v. $0.4 Trillion) than what was proposed by the Fiscal Commission (Table 2 below).

    A few points on all this.

    • Like picking the tall kid in backyard basketball, if you can pick one thing in a policy debate, pick the baseline!
    • The most newsworthy aspect of this week for me was that Senator Baucus (D-MT) was the Supercommittee member who presented the Democratic Offer. He voted against the Fiscal Commission report, and was the only Senator on that Commission who did vote no. As Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, he is powerful, so his support may be a key source of the movement “right”.
    • When I think of the past year in terms of the deficit/policy debate, I wonder how different things might have been had President Obama embraced the Fiscal Commission report in his budget? Given that he essentially produced another budget later in the Spring in response to Rep. Ryan’s budget, and given what he offered to Speaker Boehner in the debt ceiling negotiation, I think it would have been both better politics as well as better policy to have embraced the Fiscal Commission recommendations in his budget.
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    • Exactly how would it have been better policy to ebrace poor policy? When the primary problems leading to long term debt are health care spending and tax cuts coupled with a short term recession and military spending, it’s pretty poor policy to ignore those things. And poor politics too. Especially when it destroys one of the primary ways that your party is different from the other one.