This is the right place for Bowles, who has long maintained a mutual-admiration society with House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. The former Clinton White House chief of staff has always been in the corporate conservative camp when it comes to debates about preserving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
It’s good that he and Boehner have found one another. Let the Republicans advocate for the cuts proposed by Bowles and his former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, his Republican co-conductor on the train wreck that produced the so-called “Simpson-Bowles” deficit reduction plan.
After all, despite the media hype, Simposon-Bowles has always been a non-starter with the American people.
Last summer, at the Democratic and Republican national conventions, so many nice things were said about the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that had been chaired by former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, a Republican, and Bowles that it was hard to understand why they were implemented. Paul Ryan went so far as to condemn President Obama for “doing nothing” to implement the Simpson-Bowles plan—only to have it noted that Ryan rejected the recommendations of the commission.
But, while a lot of politicians in both parties say a lot of nice things about the austerity program proposed by Simpson-Bowles, there is a reason why there was no rush before the election to embrace the blueprint for cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while imposing substantial new tax burdens on the middle class.
It’s a loser.
Before the November 6 election, Simpson and Bowles went out of their way to highlight the candidacies of politicians who supported their approach—New Hampshire Republican Congressman Charlie Bass, Rhode Island Republican US House candidate Brendan Doherty, Nebraska Democratic US Senate candidate Bob Kerrey. Bipartisan endorsements were made, statements were issued, headlines were grabbed and…