When Deficit Hawks Attack (Each Other)

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, chairs of the president’s fiscal commission, have been largely out of the spotlight since the report they produced this fall failed to garner support even within their own group. The plan offered some dramatic and imbalanced suggestions on reducing the deficit, deriving almost 78 percent of its savings from cuts to government spending. Its entitlement-program reforms spared the poorest Americans, but enacted disproportionate cuts on lower-income earners, decreasing Social Security benefits while increasing the retirement age, and also cutting Medicare and Medicaid.