Unlike Atrios I don’t find the idea of a bipartisan commission “that could force tax increases and spending cuts” to necessarily be a terrible idea. But the idea of a bipartisan commission aimed at proposing a set of tax increases and spending cuts that could reduce the deficit implies that two (“bi”) parties believe that long-term deficits should be increased through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Do any leading figures in the Republican Party think that? And if not, who’s going to serve on the commission?
I hear self-proclaimed moderate Democrats talk about the need to restrain spending all the time. But I never hear even the very most RINOish of congressional Republicans talk about the need for tax hikes. In that column, you have Bruce Bartlett and nobody, and he’s a pariah. A “California scenario” in which a rump GOP fanatically opposed to tax increases is able to block any kind of resolution of structural deficit issues, forcing the country into bankruptcy doesn’t strike me as all that unlikely.
Back in early October, CAP hosted a big conference on developing a progressive approach to the long-term deficit. Plenty more thoughts there.
I should clarify that we shouldn’t be trying to make the short-term deficit smaller. In the short-term the deficit really ought to be bigger to support the weak labor market. But I bet it would be easier to maintain a large short-term budget deficit if there was a plan in place bring the long-term deficit to a sustainable level.