Guy Benson – The short and obvious explanation is that the revamped proposal emphasizes spending reductions, which is a blow to Democrats’ false mantra du jour; namely, that the country doesn’t have a spending problem. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson gripes that the new bipartisan framework, advanced by the former co-chairmen of President Obama’s fiscal commission earlier this week, emits a distinct whiff of Republicanism. The MSNBC crew is predictably unimpressed, as are lefty bloggers like Matt Yglesias. Conservative economist Kevin Hassett (who goes out of his way to describe his own misgivings over Simpson-Bowles 2.0) explains why the president’s ideological kin probably regret his decision to assemble the commission in the first place. Pretending to care about deficits, then utterly ignoring the advice of the council you charged with fashioning a workable way forward, has its consequences — as does basic budgetary math, it turns out:
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This new plan calls for about $1 trillion more in total spending cuts than was previously sought by the two gentlemen; in addition, the tax revenue they seek is about half of what was contained in their original plan. It seems that Simpson and Bowles have moved in the Republicans’ direction big time. Their plan emphasizes the pressing need to contain the debt and makes it clear that spending cuts are necessary to do so, something Democrats have seemed to be woefully ignoring in recent months. This shift in position clearly suggests that they were strong armed by the president the first time around, and forced to push a plan that they viewed was harmful for the economy. Despite making concessions towards higher taxes, they were double crossed by Obama, who dropped their plan the minute it was delivered. Overall it seems like this exposes a big gap between Simpson and Bowles and the president. President Obama has pretended to be an advocate of their position, but never been serious about doing anything. This is payback time, and Simpson and Bowles have not made any friends in the White House today.