To me, the most frustrating element of the conversation in Washington about the long-term budget deficit is that it tends to completely neglect the fact that the conservative movement in American politics doesn’t think deficits are a problem. Progressives and full-time deficit hawks may disagree about exactly how much priority should be put on deficit reduction, but progressives are happy to concede that out-of-control growth in Medicare spending is not sustainable. And institutions like the Center for American Progress do things like put out documents outlining strategies for bringing the budget back into balance down the road.
A few blocks away at the Cato Institute, however, it’s a very different situation. Over there you can find Daniel Mitchell publishing things about “The Problem Is Spending, not Deficits”. He’s entitled to his view, of course. But this is the reason why it’s hard to forge a consensus on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit—one of the teams rejects the idea of a balanced plan to reduce the deficit. Forming a special commission isn’t going to change that.