There are a number of budget votes happening in the House of Representatives today. One of them was on a variant of the Simpson-Bowles debt commission proposal. The commission, set up by President Obama, laid out a plan whereby taxes would go up a roughly $2 trillion and spending would come down slightly and, at some point in the future, the budget would balance. That assumed, of course, that federal revenues were a larger percentage of GDP than they had ever been in the history of the country and that they stayed at that level forever.
Okay, so there was a minor miracle involved in the plan, but at least it tried to balance the budget with numbers that looked mostly reasonable. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t like that proposal much because it, well, let’s she what she said.
“This proposal is simply unacceptable,” Pelosi said in a statement at the time. “Any final proposal from the commission should do what is right for our children and grandchildren’s economic security as well as for our nation’s fiscal security, and it must do what is right for our seniors, who are counting on the bedrock promises of Social Security and Medicare.”
She suggested the commission’s plan would undermine a middle class already “under siege for the last decade and unable to withstand further encroachment on their economic security.”
There you have it. Today, she’s singing a different tune. That or she’s decided to lay siege to the middle class herself.
Today’s compromise to that compromise would have eventually balanced the budget on roughly the same timeline at Simpson-Bowles, but with fewer taxes and more cuts to spending. Those changes were “simply unacceptable” to Pelosi and her Democratic caucus.
How did the President’s budget proposal fare? Not well. Not well at all.