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Can the Gang of Six Become the Gang of 535?

June 3rd, 2011 . by economistmom

The co-chairs of the President’s fiscal commission–Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles–sure hope so.  From today’s Washington Post:

To be sure, we are encouraged by the positive tone of the bipartisan negotiations being led by Vice President Biden. Those discussions have the potential to produce an agreement on a substantial down payment on deficit reduction…

But even under the most optimistic scenario, it seems unlikely that those discussions will yield savings large enough to truly stabilize our debt, let alone make the structural reforms to our entitlement programs and tax code that we so desperately need…

We understand that what the Gang of Six is working on is obviously no one’s first choice. Both House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and President Obama have presented plans — and those plans have certainly pushed the debate forward. But as the budget votes last week proved — producing a soapbox for heated rhetoric but no progress — those proposals are not going to cut it. Both plans have come under intense criticism from the opposing party, and it is clear that neither can earn the type of broad bipartisan support necessary to enact and sustain a credible fiscal plan.

Meanwhile, we simply cannot afford gridlock and delay as each party stubbornly holds out for its ideal solution.

The truth is, there is no perfect plan — we all know that. We also know that the only way this works is through a bipartisan effort where everyone prods their own sacred cows into the cattle chute, and everyone gives up something they like to protect the country they love…

Members of both parties and both houses must publicly support the work of the Gang of Six. This is the time for heroes. The country is ready for leaders in Washington to put politics aside, pull together — not apart — put national interest ahead of political interests and put the next generation over the next election.

Pray for the Gang of Six.

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