Photo: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles — who formerly chaired a commission on reducing the national debt and who now are heads of the “Fix The Debt” campaign — are making a fortune by being the top pundit pair on this issue.Jackie Calmes at The NYT report that they get $40,000 appearance fees for speaking about the debt:
Initially they made up to $32,000 each, Mr. Simpson said, then $36,000 and now $40,000. But they often appear without a fee, including at colleges and city economic clubs. The two men have done countless interviews, for newspaper reporters, doctoral students and middle school report-writers; have sat for rural radio stations and for “60 Minutes”; and have lectured both on campuses and to campuses, as Mr. Simpson did by Skype from Wyoming last week to a class here at American University.
We get that they have star power and all that, but the appeal of the pair right now, during the Fiscal Cliff debate, speaks to the inherent confusion that people have about the issue.
Simpson and Bowles are, if anything, experts on cutting the debt. The Fiscal Cliff is about avoiding measures that would cut the debt. Other than people not getting what the Fiscal Cliff is about, it’s unclear why they’re important to listen to in the moment.
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