At CFIF, I explain why and how John Boehner and company can at least in one area get a better deal than the one in the revised Boehner plan that finally passed the House: Front-load the spending cuts even more.
Frankly, as long as the conditions in that CFIF post are met, I don’t fear the results of the commission too much (even though I think it is a horrible way to legislate). Why? Because about a half to two-thirds of the reforms to entitlements and taxes are relatively uncontroversial among lawmakers, and thus the first big chunk of the final deal won’t be too difficult. The elements are these: Move to a “chained CPI,” meaning a barely-noticeable change in the inflation formula used by the government, to save money over time the same way that monetary interest compounds. Tie the Medicare elegibility age to that of Social Security. Hike both of those ages just a tiny bit faster than current law provides for Social Security. Cut corporate income taxes while closing a few loopholes and eliminating some of what the Left calls “tax subsidies” such as the ethanol tax break.
Of course, all of these reforms together still won’t be good enough or big enough to do the government-limiting, debt-limiting job conservatives are dedicated to doing, but they will provide a good down payment. A deal in the next two days that makes that down payment likely to happen, without tax-rate increases (or elimination of broad-based deductions or exemptions) or major military cuts, is probably a deal worth making.
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