The Deficit Commission report, we are told, is DOA. Opponents of one point will combine with opponents of other points to bury it. We hear conservatives dogmatically denounce changes in the tax code, even while liberals object that those changes would be a net gain for the wealthy. And as for liberals, proposed cuts in Social Security and Medicare are, as usual, non-starters.
This week we saw our leaders again refuse to confront the looming storm. It's been reported that the President is offering the Republicans a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for all levels of income for another two years. In other words, he is reaching across the aisle in a bargain to do nothing.
Bowles/Simpson is, in its present form, a fifty page Power-Point presentation. It takes only a few minutes to read if you skip the charts. Some of the provisions are obscure, like ending Federal subsidies to states and tribes for abandoned mines. Some are breathtaking, like ending earmarks completely and implementing a biennial budget process. I'm not nearly qualified to evaluate all its provisions or even to accurately position it in the liberal-conservative continuum, but I am glad it's on the table, and hope that our politicians will see that their mission is greater than just fighting to take it off.
Woman Holding a Balance, Johannes Vermeer; 1664. Note that she is pregnant, that there is a painting of the Last Judgment behind her, and that while there are pearls and gold coins spread about, the balance is as yet empty. The present moment is connected to the future and filled with potential, if we evaluate it wisely. Click on the picture for a closer look.