Twitter

Facing Down Fiscal Discipline



There is some serious denial afoot:
Erskine Bowles is thrilled. Honest!

"I couldn't be happier . . . regardless of how the vote turns out," he said Tuesday, referring to the fiscal commission he chairs with Alan Simpson. "We've won big: The era of deficit denial in Washington is over."

Actually, as Bowles's former boss Bill Clinton might have said, that depends on what the meaning of "denial" is.

If it means that Washington acknowledges that our deficits and unfunded liabilities are huge and unsustainable, Bowles has a point. Unfortunately, it's a tiny point with little consequence. The well-meaning Kerrey-Danforth Commission, which trod similar ground with similar worthies back in 1994, had unanimous consensus on the same problem - and, likewise, zero agreement on what to do about it.

The truth is that there is deep denial on all sides on what it will take to put our fiscal house in order. Some of the denial is political, because it's safer not to avow things voters don't want to hear. Some of the denial stems from ignorance, because officials haven't thought things through. And some is ideological, because certain facts don't fit with preconceived notions about how the world works.

But one thing is undeniable: Some refusals to face reality matter more than others. To help you keep tabs, here's a radically centrist guide to the three most consequential denials on display as the commission winds up its work.
Miller goes on to talk about the denial of which conservatives, liberals and bipartisans are all guilty.

Definitely worth your time.

Head nod: Solomon Kleinsmith