But witness protection is far too good for Simpson and co-chair Erskine Bowles: A group of sixth-grade kids working on a class project would use more imagination than this dynamic duo. When all is said and done, their plan is about forcing the middle class to pay to retain the system that got us into this mess. As always, the wealthy win out, giving up a few pennies here and there in exchange for lowering the top marginal rate to 23% and the corporate tax rate to 25%.
What do the rest of us get? For starters, whether you're a man or woman in uniform, a civil servant, a homeowner, or a retiree, you get your pay cut. Most galling are the attacks on Social Security, a solvent and successful program now asked to bear the brunt of the deficit reduction through a combination of reduced benefits and an increased retirement age (which amounts to second benefit cut).
There's no talk about what got us into this mess: Unfunded wars, a massive unfunded entitlement, tax cuts, and a deregulated financial sector. There's no talk of fixing Medicare once and for all by folding it into a better and cheaper national health care plan. There's no talk of revisiting defense policy so that it reflects the 21st Century and not 1962. There's no talk of a creating a financial regulatory structure to prevent future TARPs.
And there's no talk of the Bush tax cuts. It seems to me that if you really and truly believe that the deficit is The Number One Problem Facing The Nation, then you start by rescinding all of the tax cuts. Now, that might be enough to land you in witness protection.
Just a complete, total failure of imagination.
I'll eviscerate the United States Senate tomorrow.