Giving us the first clear idea of their plans for managing the federal budget, the
deficit fiscal commission’s Catfood Commission co-chairs, Erskine Bowles and former-Sen. Alan Simpson released a teaser report today with hints of the proposals they want accepted:
The proposed simplification of the tax code would repeal or modify a number of popular tax breaks — including the deductibility of mortgage interest payments — so that income tax rates could be reduced across the board. Under the plan, individual income tax rates would decline to as low as 8 percent on the lowest income bracket (now 10 percent) and to 23 percent on the highest bracket (now 35 percent). The corporate tax rate, now 35 percent, would also be reduced, to as low as 26 percent.
As Susie Madrak says, “In other words, tax cuts for 2%, austerity for everyone else!“
Megan Carpentier at Talking Point Memo says, “Their recommendations are more or less a list of the third-rail issues of American politics, including cuts in the number of federal workers; increasing the costs of participating in veterans and military health care systems; increasing the age of Social Security eligibility; and major cuts in defense and foreign policy spending. “
- Raise the qualification age for Social Security benefits to 69 by 2075
- Index Social Security benefits to inflation rather than wages
- Begin means testing benefits by 2050
- Raise the contribution ceiling, currently at $109,000 to include 90% of wages
The list includes changes in the tax code — eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, raising the personal deduction, lowering the tax rate (2% for us 10% for them?) raising medicare & medicaid co-pays and premiums and on and on and on.
Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who called the plan “a good beginning,” said commission members will meet this afternoon and again next week to continue discussions and “offer alternatives.”
Oh, and they’re talking about raising the retirement age, because people live longer — except that the people who really depend on Social Security, those in the bottom half of the distribution, aren’t living much longer. So you’re going to tell janitors to work until they’re 70 because lawyers are living longer than ever.
Lambert’s shocked. And my blood froze.