Since the 2012 election, Republicans have consistently blamed President Obama for ignoring the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission he created shortly after taking office in 2009. Republican leaders have said they’d be “willing to say yes to” a Simpson-Bowles-style plan, which balanced revenue with spending cuts and changes to entitlements.
Those overtures have of course been disingenuous, since the Simpson-Bowles plan includes more revenue than any recent plan Obama has put forth. Today, Obama released his 2014 budget proposal, a moderate plan aimed at fostering a long-term compromise with the GOP. And yet again the Obama plan, which this time also includes unpopular entitlement cuts aimed at placating Republicans, calls for both lower revenue and spending levels than Simpson-Bowles did, as Center for American Progress Managing Director of Economic Policy Michael Linden shows:
When added to the deficit reduction already accomplished, the president’s offer includes more than $3 trillion in spending cuts and just $1.3 trillion in revenue. In addition to the enacted deficit reduction, projections of federal spending have been reduced for a variety of other reasons, primarily the recent slowdown in health care costs. Put it all together, and the president is willing to accept overall federal spending levels that are an average of about 0.5 percentage points of gross domestic product less than those in Simpson-Bowles, and revenue levels that are a full percentage point below those in Simpson-Bowles.
The GOP will continue arguing that Obama’s proposals are little different than those he has put forth before, and that he has refused to come to the table for serious negotiations. But while Republican budgets keep moving to the right to satisfy conservatives, Obama’s budget is now even more moderate than the deficit commission Republicans said they wanted to follow just six months ago.