Today, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released the final draft of its long-awaited budget proposal. Modeled largely on the ill-conceived Bowles-Simpson draft, this version 2.0 continues to try to convince taxpayers that the “new normal” of spending restraint is embodied in post-“stimulus”, post-bailout spending levels. Failing to take into account most of the proven spending solutions offered by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, the plan chooses to hike taxes rather than institute serious spending reform.
The latest edition of the Commissions’ plan offers a bait-and-switch on outlays, preserving mandatory spending for cuts in discretionary spending. Refusing to address the ballooning obligations of entitlement spending has consequences: mandatory spending under the plan exceeds CBO’s baseline until 2015, when it hits CBO’s projection of 12.4 percent, a full 1.4 percent above 2008 mandatory spending.
What’s more, the plan eschews proven health care reform, rejecting the voucher program for Medicare proposed in Ryan-Rivlin in favor of “external reviews” of other premium support programs. The proposal also ignores proven cost-cutting measures offered by Americans for Tax Reform, such as instituting a “Disappropriations Committee” and comprehensive government transparency reforms that have saved taxpayers millions in the states.
“We have long warned the President’s Debt Commission is no more than an excuse to raise taxes,” said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist. “The latest edition of the trillion-dollar tax hike illustrates this point as much as the last version. The Commission’s Co-Chairs continue to think taxpayers will buy whatever they put in front of them, attempting to sell Americans on the idea that government taking up 21 percent of economic activity is a reasonable objective. Just as the meager spending cuts in the last version failed to mask the Commission’s promotion of profligacy, Version 2.0 does little to assuage taxpayers that this plan addresses the growing government burden. Instead, the plan pushes more than a trillion dollars in tax hikes to protect the sacred cows of Medicare and Social Security. Taxpayers weren’t sold on the Commission’s first attempt at tax hikes, and they won’t buy this latest snake oil either.”