Photo: CNBC screenshot
Erskine Bowles, Alan Simpson, and Lloyd Blankfein were on CNBC earlier, talking to Steve Liesman about taxes, the national debt, and the fiscal cliff.It was actually a fantastic interview, and Steve Liesman asked some great, sceptical questions that other journalists should emulate.
But one point in particular is grating.
“People are never going to understand how critical this particular time in history is,” said Erskine Bowles, the North Carolina businessman and co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. “We have $7.7 trillion worth of economic events that are going to hit America in the gut in December, and in Washington they’re doing nothing about it.”
Here’s the thing. The huge “fiscal cliff” that the US is about to hit is a result of people wanting to be “responsible” on spending. It was Republican debt hawks who only agreed to raise the debt ceiling if automatic budget cuts went into place at the end of 2012.
Now the debt hawks say this is going to be a huge hit in the ‘gut’ and that lawmakers must urgently do something to keep the gravy train growing.
Now surely Bowles would say that he prefers slow drip reform to an immediate hit in the gut, and that would probably be preferable. But at some point, the debt hawks might need to take responsibility for the ramifications that come from a cut in spending.
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