The resurrection of Bowles-Simpson

Charles P. Pierce is sick of all the newfound love Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are receiving for their approach to tackling our national debt:

Only in the funhouse mirror that is the Beltway media are these two guys an “improbable buddy act.” Only in that same mirror are they an “odd couple.” (And the fact that “business groups” pay them 40-grand a pop proves nothing except the fact the two of them shouldn’t be trusted as far as you can throw Lloyd Blankfein’s desk.) Both of them are tools of the financial power that has come to be the ruination of the nation’s economy and is more than halfway toward ruining the nation’s democracy as well. For example, the nation’s tattered social safety net is in as much danger from the two of them as it is from the outright zombie-eyed granny-starver, Paul Ryan, who personally walked away from the Simpson-Bowles “plan” because not enough grannies were being starved. Bowles just wants to hand the entire social insurance system over to his financial masters. (He’s one of the masterminds behind the Fix The Debt scam by which we are supposed to believe that a passel of avaricious CEOs have the country’s best interests at heart.) The financial elites, for whom Erskine Bowles would run the Iditarod if you put him in harness, loved it, which should have been a warning to everyone. Simpson hates the people who depend on the programs. But one of them is a lot taller than the other one so — bipartisanship! The plan lives!

While the support was greater than expected, it was short of the 14 votes needed to force immediate action in Congress. The executive director, Bruce Reed, now chief of staff to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., urged the chairmen to soldier on. “Together we decided, Let’s don’t let this thing die,” Mr. Bowles said. “Bruce convinced Al and me that the plan we put together could be the gold standard.” They quickly raised money, including from Peter G. Peterson, the billionaire financier of antideficit efforts, to keep a small staff. They began working with the bipartisan “Gang of Six” senators (now eight) to write the report into legislation – “the Cialis project,” Mr. Bowles privately joked, borrowing from the advertising slogan for an erectile dysfunction drug, “When the moment is right, will you be ready?”

Well, since the whole enterprise is dedicated to old guys out to screw people, the name is apt, if nothing else.


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