Fiscal Cliff

Erskine Bowles on the GOP's 'Bowles Plan' Offer: That's Not My Plan!


Earlier today House Republicans made their first counteroffer to President Obama in negotiations over the fiscal cliff. Their offer was based on testimony made by Erskine Bowles, the co-chair of President Obama's original debt commission, to the debt-reduction Supercommittee formed in the wake of the summer 2011 debt ceiling fight. The GOP's offer letter described the "Bowles plan" as "exactly the kind of imperfect, but fair middle ground" the might allow the two sides to come to a deal and avert the fiscal cliff. 

Democrats didn't like Bowles' proposal all that much when he delivered his testimony last year, and weren't likely to find it much improved since.

But now the idea has a notable new detractor: Erskine Bowles, who distanced himself from the GOP's offer late this afternoon. 

"While I'm flattered the Speaker would call something 'the Bowles plan,' the approach outlined in the letter Speaker Boehner sent to the President does not represent the Simpson-Bowles plan, nor is it the Bowles plan," Bowles said in a statement released by the Moment of Truth Project. "In my testimony before the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, I simply took the mid-point of the public offers put forward during the negotiations to demonstrate where I thought a deal could be reached at that time. The Joint Select Committee failed to reach a deal, and circumstances have changed since then. It is up to negotiators to figure out where the middle ground is today."

The GOP's "Bowles plan," in other words, is not the Bowles plan. It's not really even a plan at all. It's a posture. As I argued earlier today, the GOP counteroffer, like the Obama offer that preceeded it, was not about putting forth a plausible package for a deal. It was about trying to create a particular appearance that they hoped would help them negotiate. 

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  1. While I’m flattered the Speaker would call something ‘the Bowles plan,’ the approach outlined in the letter Speaker Boehner sent to the President does not represent the Simpson-Bowles plan…

    Then it’s settled. We call it the Bowels Plan. Because it takes guts or because it contains crap? You decide.

    1. Do we have movement on the Bowels Plan yet?

      1. That plan seems a little…loose. Wattery. Without…fibre, as it were.

        1. I think we need to firm up the Bowels Plan.

          1. It’s gone through a few revisions. Preparations A thru G were a complete failure. But on the hole I think Preparation H feels pretty good.

          2. Is this supposed to somehow be better than punning?

            1. Wut? Fart noises would be better than punning.

            2. I’ve decided inflicting pain is better than being on the receiving end. Of the Bowels Plan. As it were.

              1. Yes, I much prefer pitching to catching, as it were.

              2. Two politicians and a cup.

  2. “So, Mr. Bowles, what you’re saying is – that plan? YOU didn’t write it.”

  3. Also – Suderman continues to win the Alt Text Cup.#WINNING

  4. PS No, fuck you, cut spending

  5. Just so I’m clear – this Simpson-Bowles plan achieves $80 billion per year in new revenue, and $150 billion per year in spending cuts, for a total decease of $230 billion per year in the deficit. Even if all of the cuts materialized(*), doesn’t that still leave us somewhere north of $500 billion in expenditures over revenues? Any talk of how we get the rest of the way? Or is it just assumed we’ll grow our way out of it?

    (*)And this isn’t even getting into whether these are literal cuts, or DC-speak “less of an increase than we hoped for”.

    1. $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.

      Reduces top rate to 26%, all deductions eliminated, levels capital gains at 26%, increases entitlement age, chained CPI, cuts Medicare through SGR, eliminates the deficit by 2035. (iirc)

      btw, I support Simpson-Bowles. If Coburn and Durbin voted for it then that makes it even better.

      1. cuts Medicare through SGR

        because that worked so well in the past.

    2. Bear in mind, that’s the best plan we are going to get. That’s the starting point from the Republican side. It’s going to end up closer to the Democratic one.

      1. That is true. If the GOP wants to put Obama in a weak political position they would pass Simpson-Bowles immediately in the House.

    3. Or is it just assumed we’ll grow our way out of it?

      Yeah, based on the rather naive belief that the economy will grow faster than the budget.

  6. Homer Simpson: Okay, boy. This is where all the hard work, sacrifice, and painful scaldings pay off.
    Employee: Four pounds of grease… that comes to… sixty-three cents.
    Homer Simpson: Woo-hoo!
    Bart Simpson: Dad, all that bacon cost twenty-seven dollars.
    Homer Simpson: Yeah, but your mom paid for that!
    Bart Simpson: But doesn’t she get her money from you?
    Homer Simpson: And I get my money from grease! What’s the problem?

  7. According to this 24/7 article, Boehner removed Justin Amash from the Budget Committee (along with other committee removals).

    The first shot of the GOP saying, “Fuck you, libertarians.”

    1. Not the last by any measure either.

    2. I am developing a deep hatred for Boehner and the GOP establishment rivaling the one I have for the commun…I mean dems.

      I didnt see that coming. I thought they had some redeeming qualities.

      1. I thought they had some redeeming qualities.

        Sometimes I see the comments on this board, and consider myself a bit naive in comparison. This is not one of those times.

      2. I didnt see that coming. I thought they had some redeeming qualities.

        They are the real enemy – never forget that.

        Mourdock and Christine O’Donnell are unsung heros for destroying their respective professional republican opponents.

  8. OT:

    Watch this video. The old lady is fucking awesome.

    1. She’s got more balls than Bob Costas can ever even dream of having.

    2. Yes. Yes she is.

      “Try me. I’ll kill you. If you get past the dog and kill the dog, you’ve signed your own death warrant,” she said.”

      1. It seems that she’s spent everyday of her retirement praying for a home invasion just so she can use that J-frame.

  9. Wow. All these years I have been spelling ‘Union’ wrong.
    From now on I will use the correct spelling; communistpieceofshit.

    Extra points to the huffpo for letting a communistpieceofshit write articles for them.…..24742.html

    1. Wow, that was painful. All Leo’s money comes from grease too! What a coincidence!

      1. Yeah and I am wondering how much that amounts to.
        I bet the guy is raking it in.

  10. OK wow, so who comes up with all that crazy stuff? Wow.

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