The bipartisan fiscal commission has been working on a plan to reduce the national debt, and Social Security and Pentagon expenses are at the top of their list of major federal expenses. The commission has yet to propose tactics to reduce these expenses, but they are already being confronted with major opposition. Check out the following story on this new development—courtesy of USA Today.
Social Security and the Pentagon are among the early targets of the bipartisan fiscal commission established by President Obama to address the USA's spiraling national debt.
The panel, which held its second public meeting today, barely mentioned the biggest reason for the $13 trillion debt and annual $1.5 trillion budget deficits: health care. The president recently signed an overhaul that's projected to save $143 billion over 10 years, but that won't be nearly enough to reverse the tide of red ink.
What's emerging on the 18-member panel is a split between a majority favoring tough action to tame the debt and a minority, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's appointees, who appear more concerned about today's economy and jobs picture.
"Cutting now would be a mistake," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. -- despite the fact that cutting spending and/or increasing taxes is the presumed goal of the panel. Her colleague, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., raised one of Congress' sacred cows -- treating wounded war veterans -- as but one reason to avoid too much deficit reduction.
On the other side were panel chairmen Erskine Bowles, a North Carolina Democrat, and Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican; several powerful Democrats who long have favored deficit reduction; and most of the commission's Republicans.