Simpson-Bowles Is More Left-Wing Than You Think, But Less Left-Wing Than I Said

A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 4 2012 2:25 PM

Simpson-Bowles Is More Left-Wing Than You Think, But Less Left-Wing Than I Said

First off, a correction to yesterday's post on Simpson-Bowles. I wrote that S-B takes the current law baseline of full expiration of the Bush tax cuts and then closes the deficit with a 3-1 mix of taxes and revenues, making the total S-B tax bill way higher than under the Obama plan. In fact, the S-B baseline assumes the following expirations:

(1) the “upper-income” tax provisions for those making more than $250,000;
(2) the AOTC and the EITC third tier; and
(3) the current estate tax parameters, to be replaced with 2009 parameters.
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And then closes the deficit with a 3-1 mix of spending cuts and revenue increases. In other words, Simpson-Bowles does raise taxes more than Obama but not by as much as I said. I apologize for the error and the confusion.

Second! A lot of liberals got really ornery about yesterday's post which they thought could be refuted by rehearsing some criticisms of the Simpson-Bowles plan. That's fine. I don't think anyone of any ideological persuasion should be particularly enthusiastic about any deficit reduction plan at this point. That said, it's still the case that in the froth ether of "the discourse" Simpson-Bowles is conventionally framed as a deficit plan that's to the right of where Obama is when in reality Simpson-Bowles is more aggressive in both raising taxes and cutting military spending than Obama has been. That is, I think, a noteworthy and important element of the world today.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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