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Editorial Praise for the Updated Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Framework

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Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson recently released A Bipartisan Path Forward to Securing America's Future, a framework for long-term fiscal reform with enough savings to put the debt on a sustainable downward trajectory. The proposal demonstrates that an agreement on a comprehensive plan to bring the debt under control is possible if both parties are able to put their sacred cows on the table in the interest of a grand compromise by building upon the progress made by President Obama and Speaker Boehner in December and respecting the key principles of both sides.

Although the proposal was subject to criticisms from the left and the right, some of which are addressed here, it was widely praised as a serious, responsible alternative to the partisan stalemate in Washington and the impending sequester which will impose immediate "stupid" cuts without addressing the long term drivers of debt. The Washington Post editorial board wrote that the plan "administered a dose of realism to Washington" and USA Today editorial board said that Bowles and Simpson deserve an award for "giv[ing] elected officials cover for telling people the truth." Several other editorial boards across the country also weighed in with editorials praising the plan:


Washington Post: The Blame Game Over Sequestration

FORMER SENATOR Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles administered a dose of realism to Washington on Tuesday, announcing an update to their eponymous 2010 deficit-reduction plan.

USA Today: Simpson-Bowles' Greatest Service

The latest plan from Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Bowles, who served as President Clinton's chief of staff, usefully rattles the cages of both parties. Somehow, the rhetoric of "don't touch my Medicare, don't touch my Social Security, and don't make me pay" has to end. Simpson and Bowles' greatest service is to give elected officials cover for telling people the truth: The primary beneficiaries of those programs will have to fund them or see them shrink.


Chicago Tribune: Obama, Sequestered

Tuesday wasn't a total washout. Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and Alan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming, floated a new framework for cutting deficits by $2.4 trillion over 10 years - just enough, probably, to finally put our national debt on a downward trajectory. The former co-chairs of the president's 2010 debt commission keep urging official Washington to stop bickering - and stop letting party politics block reforms.


Reuters: U.S. deficit dynamic duo remain uncontested champs

Their latest attempt to save the economy would raise $600 billion over the next 10 years through tax reform. Reducing the costs associated with Medicare, the federal healthcare program for the elderly, would account for a similar amount in savings. And the final $1.2 trillion would consist of more spending reductions and fee revenue. That's more comprehensive than anything the two political parties have put forward. Sadly, Simpson and Bowles may have returned too late.


Wisconsin State Journal: Erskine Bowles, Alan Simpson Show the Way on Debt

A pair of elder statesmen are again stepping forward with sensible targets and ideas for stabilizing America's soaring debt.  Rather than working together, Washington seems more interested in "making the other side lose," Simpson said Tuesday, according to Bloomberg News. "It's disgusting to watch." He's right.


Forbes: Days Before Sequester, Bowles and Simpson Offer a Second Plan for Fiscal Sustainability

We've got Senate Democrats proposing additional taxes on the wealthy. Republican leaders saying tax revenue is off the table. And now, a third option exists; and given the respect earned by its authors, it is one that must be taken seriously.


Denver Post: Doing nothing to solve latest fiscal crisis

Sen. Alan Simpson, the Wyoming Republican, and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles called the looming cuts "mindless." While acknowledging there is no perfect solution, the pair said that "we believe strongly and sincerely that an agreement on a comprehensive plan to bring our debt under control is possible if both sides are able to put their sacred cows on the table." As we've said before, sequestration doesn't touch the big drivers of future debt: health care and Social Security. A thoughtful approach to our fiscal situation would consider those programs as well.


Miami Herald: Federal budget can be trimmed without the pain

This is, frankly, a stupid way to cut the budget. And there is a better way, if only both sides would realize that a deal — a real budget fix — requires give and take by all parties. The co-chairs of the president’s deficit-cutting commission, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, have stated and restated the obvious: Democrats need to accept deeper cuts in healthcare spending and Republicans need to accept more tax increases.


MSN Money: Why there's no way Obama can win

Instead of an either/or dichotomy, we need to find a third way out of this mess. Thankfully, the bipartisan team behind the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Obama's 2010 Fiscal Commission have released a new, balanced road map out of this mess that doesn't blow up the economy or explode the debt.


Chicago Sun-Times: Compromise after falling off cliff

Obama won his let’s-tax-the-rich fight with the fiscal cliff deal. Republicans now have won the let’s-cut-spending battle with the sequester. With both sides having victories under their belts, maybe they could listen to the sensible compromise ideas of Bowles and Simpson that could give them both — and the rest of us — a big win.


Charlotte Observer: Washington, it's past time to make a deal

[T]here are alternatives to stalemate. Erskine Bowles, Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, and former GOP senator Alan Simpson, offered one last week. Their new plan reduces the deficit by $2.4 trillion over the next decade. It has concessions for conservatives and liberals. It’s the balanced approach lawmakers should seek.

Read more here:


Bloomberg: New Bowles-Simpson Gives Obama, Congress Sequester Escape

With nine days before the sequester deadline, the new Simpson-Bowles proposal substitutes some smart (though painful) cuts for the mindless ones and therein contains the makings of a deal that could break the logjam.

Forbes: Bowles-Simpson II: A New Plan to Avoid the Sequester

Their plan attempts to steer a middle ground between the Obama Administration, which favors much more modest spending cuts, and congressional Republicans, who oppose using any new revenues to cut the deficit.  It is a perfectly reasonable alternative.


Southtown (IL) Star: Rep. Dan Lipinski: To avoid sequester, Congress must make compromises

While the updated Bowles-Simpson plan is not perfect, it is the best model to not only avoid the sequester but to stabilize the national debt threatening our economy and strengthen entitlement programs.


The Springfield (MA) Republican: Simpson-Bowles plan shouldn't be ignored as pols debate sequestration

Simpson-Bowles ought to be the brand for the grown-ups, an escape from the pointless howling of the day to day, a shelter from the either-or that has replaced honest, intelligent discourse in our federal city. Simpson-Bowles is a prescription. Those who don't like it need to offer one of their own.

Lancaster (PA) New Era: Simpson, Bowles revisit the debt

Republican Alan Simpson, a former U.S. senator from Wyoming, and Democrat Erskine Bowles, President Clinton's former chief of staff, are offering an updated plan to reduce the nation's debt over the next decade. Trouble is, time is running out - fast.


Palm Springs (CA) Desert Sun: Revive the Art of Compromise

Simpson and Bowles resurfaced this week to lobby for targeted cuts to replace the "mindless, across-the-board cuts from sequestration." That's precisely what is needed.


Fairmont (MN) Sentinel: Simpson-Bowles back to reiterate the problem

[T]he adults are back. Simpson and Bowles issued another call for fiscal sanity on Tuesday. They aim to reduce the deficit $2.4 trillion over the next decade. Their formula envisions health care reform, tax reform and mandatory spending cuts. It is not a radical plan. It cannot even be called conservative. But it's a plan that recognizes something the president will not: The United States has a spending problem.


Mankato (MN) Free Press: Simpson-Bowles II Can Work

The plan is honest. It deals with hard realities all Americans need to face sooner than later. Spending must be cut. Revenue must be raised. Deficits must be trimmed. That means Republican and Democratic constituencies will have to contribute. Americans of all stripes should endorse this plan.


Albuquerque Journal: This time, get serious about Simpson-Bowles

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have done it again, but will anyone listen this time? Or are we determined to continue blundering down the road to fiscal ruin? Congress should quit bickering and turn its attention to doing what its members were elected to do - approve a budget and stem the flow of red ink. The new Simpson-Bowles plan is a good place to start.


San Angelo (TX) Standard-Journal: Simpson-Bowles plan offers escape from sequester

But virtually everyone who has studied the budget problem believes the solution will be a program very much, if not exactly, like Simpson-Bowles. The plan is, as they say, shovel ready and could quickly be enacted. Bowles, not given to overstatement, calls the sequester "stupid, stupid, stupid." But absent congressional action, it goes into effect on Friday - a day that, fittingly enough, Congress has decided to take off.


Biloxi-Gulfport (MS) Sun Herald: Hard choices need to be made intelligently

Last week, as if its moment may have finally come, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (often called Simpson-Bowles after its co-chairs Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles) offered yet again an intelligent option to the sequester. Americans deserve and should demand an intelligent resolution of the financial difficulties facing the nation, one that restores confidence and spurs economic growth.


Greensboro (NC) News and Record: Bowles and Simpson Still Telling the Truth

Bowles and Simpson may be prophets crying outside the Capital Beltway, but they have a national audience because no one in Washington is dealing honestly with the people. Whom should Americans trust - principled statesmen, or politicians positioning themselves for the next election?


New London (CT) Day: Chance for Serious Deficit Reduction

The persistently practical duo of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles is once again tossing a fiscal lifeline to President Obama and congressional leaders. If they grab hold of it and use it as a framework for serious deficit reduction it would almost certainly accelerate the economic recovery and provide Washington the capacity to focus on other serious domestic and foreign policy priorities.

The Arkansas Courier: Congress should just stay home

Even serious budget-cutters agree that sequestration is not the best way to reduce the deficit. Those include former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles - the Simpson and Bowles of Simpson-Bowles, whose recommendations the president ignored. The difference is that they would actually follow through on that balanced approach. Because Sen. Simpson and Mr. Bowles are not in office, we've got to take deficit reduction where we can get it, and for now, that's through sequestration.


Deseret News (UT): Celebrate sequestration this Friday

For a long time now, Americans should have known that the only way to stop the nation's long-term trajectory toward insolvency - the same trajectory that led Standard & Poor's to downgrade America's credit rating in 2011 - is to enact cuts and/or revenue increases that cause real pain. Other than the Simpson-Bowles commission - an Obama-appointed group that came up with a remarkably sound plan that spread the pain equitably and was quickly dismissed by everyone in Washington - has there been such a proposal? Of course not.


Southern Pines (NC) Pilot: This 'Sequester' Is Unnecessary

We should have listened to Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson the first time around. It’s not too late to listen to them now. Then again, it probably is — given the fact that these two gentlemen operate out of a spirit of compromise and rationality, both of which have become such rare qualities in contemporary Washington, D.C., as to be endangered species.


Rock Hill (SC) Herald: New Simpson-Bowles Plan

Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, who headed the commission tasked in 2011 with devising a deficit reduction plan that would be acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans, are back with a new plan. Perfect or not, the plan provides a starting point and framework for addressing the deficit and preserving vital programs and services. Unfortunately, it’s probably too late to negotiate an agreement before Friday.


Charleston (SC) Post and Courier: Passing the fiscal buck -- again

Looking beyond the current uproar over the sequester, Mr. Simpson and Mr. Bowles grimly predicted “more small-ball solutions that mostly kick the can down the road a little while longer.”

And they again urged the president and Congress “to put politics aside and work quickly to replace sequestration and put our fiscal house in order with targeted cuts and real reforms in both the entitlement programs and the tax code.”

Unfortunately, though, Washington’s fiscal vision remains dangerously out of focus.


Read more here:



You can see Bowles and Simpson's appearances on network and cable news here.

More information on the proposal is available here.

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Feb 25, 2013
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"Their work, though rejected by both partisan sides, remains the most credible and realistic approach to fixing the nation's fiscal mess. And on Tuesday, Bowles and Simpson updated their suggestions, hoping to prompt smarter spending restraint than the across-the-board cuts scheduled to begin in little more than a week."