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November 30, 2010

Deficit Reduction Plan Unlikely To Garner Votes Necessary To Force a Vote In Congress

Yet another blue ribbon panel that accomplishes nothing.

Well, it accomplished what it was intended to -- to give Obama six months (or whatever) of free time during which he could duck questions on an important issue by saying "Let the panel do its work." That's the point of all these commissions. To buy time, to avoid the decisions they're supposedly their to make.

To force a vote in Congress, 14 of the 18 members of the commission (containing six former members of Congress and twelve serving members) would have to vote in favor of one plan, and no one expects that to happen.

On FoxNews Sunday this week, Bill Kristol was more sanguine, happy that the commission was at least producing some ideas that were receiving some consideration and debate, surprised that a former Clinton official (not part of this commission) proposed a major change to Medicare that was similar to Paul Ryan's approach. (Rivkin's big idea was to reform Medicare from defined-contribution to defined-benefit, which is a key change to protect its solvency.)

I don't know how similar that is to Ryan's idea, apart from that defined-benefit thing, as Ryan is proposing that each Medicare recipient be given an $11,000 (per year) voucher to purchase private insurance. Rivkin's plan would, I imagine, keep Medicare a government program. But Kristol was taking his victories where he could find them.

It's something of a victory that Obama is proposing a federal pay freeze. What we need is a federal pay cut (5% for starters) and a hiring freeze combined with workforce reduction, but Obama was at least spurred to move in our direction. But what he proposes is plainly inadequate.

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posted by Ace at 12:13 PM

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