In Defense of the Deficit Commission

Jan 15, 2010 | Budgets & Projections

Today, the AARP sent an email to its members encouraging them not to support the Conrad-Gregg commission. A coalition of conservative anti-tax groups also voiced their opposition today.

The AARP, of course, is concerned the commission will recommend spending reductions for Social Security and Medicare. The conservative groups are concerned it will raise taxes.

The unfortunate truth is that we are going to have to do some of both; either now on our own terms, or later when a fiscal crisis hits.

Ideally, of course, Congress and the President would be able to make rational decisions about what taxes to raise, what spending to cut, when, and how. But the political system is fundamentally broken – in part because of pressure groups that make already-difficult decisions seem impossible.

A special process, such as the Conrad-Gregg commission, may very well be the best mechanism to help avoid economic and fiscal catastrophe – and in turn the best way to save Social Security, Medicare, and the comparatively low tax rates we enjoy in the United States.

If AARP, Americans for Tax Reform, and others think we can avert a debt crisis through the normal political process, we welcome their help in doing so. Solid and actionable recommendations for bringing our entitlements into balance and reforming our tax code to make it more efficient are always welcome – and these groups certainly have the expertise to provide such recommendations.

So what productive ideas are they offering??? (That's the sound of crickets chirping you hear.)