With a compromise deal to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit signed into law, a handful of politicians and officials took to op-ed pages Wednesday morning to weigh in on the deal, the process, and the future of the nation's economy. Here's a roundup of what was written.
Bowles, Simpson: "Not a Solution"
The deal is "a start" but "not a solution," Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who co-led Obama's bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform which was tasked with addressing deficit reduction, write in The New York Times. The congressional committee charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings needs to think big, and aim to save even more, they argue. The committee will have to address Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and tax reform, and it needs appointees willing to compromise. "If our government cannot address these terribly tough issues at a time when the public’s attention is fully on them, when will we ever be able to?"
Geithner: "A Terrible Process, But a Good Result"
"It was a terrible process, but a good result," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner writes in The Washington Post. The deal "locks in $2 trillion in long-term savings," phased in gradually, and "sets up a powerful mechanism for agreement" on tax and entitlement reform, he writes. The near-term spending cuts will inflict "far less than the damage that would have been caused by a prolonged impasse, by adopting the budget proposed by Republicans or, certainly, by default." The long-term savings will give Congress breathing room to pass short-term measures, such as extending the payroll tax cut. "Beneath all the bluster, the prospects for compromise on broader and deeper reforms are better than they have been in years"-- but the months of dramatic negotiations have left business leaders rattled. They, "like many Americans, want to see Congress build on this moment of compromise."
Coburn: Super Committee "Will Never Work"
"I voted against this agreement because it does nothing to address the real drivers of our debt," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., writes for The Washington Post. The deal "does not cut any spending over 10 years": it merely slows the growth of new spending, Coburn argues. It doesn’t eliminate any programs, or address tax and entitlement reform. The committee empowered to do so is bound by enforcement mechanisms that "will never work."
"The commission process in Washington has become a farce," and "when the flaws of this plan become apparent, another change election will be coming." Coburn served on both the Simpson-Bowles comission and on the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Six.
Summers: What About the Economy?
The final deal inspires relief, cynicism and economic anxiety, for former Obama economic advisor Larry Summers writes in The Washington Post. Congress avoided default and "damaging short-run austerity," but the deal doesn't do a lot to address the deficit and ignores the bigger problem: the lagging economy. The "issues pressing the United States today are much more about jobs and a growth deficit than an excessive budget deficit." By refusing to extend the Bush tax cuts and enacting some entitlement reforms, Congress can "hit current targets for deficit reduction." By taking measures to boost demand, the government can work to boost economic growth.
Rep. Ryan: Let's Pass a Budget
President Obama "still hasn't put forward a credible plan to tackle the threat of ever-rising spending and debt," House Budget Chair Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., writes for The Wall Street Journal, and "it has been over two years since the Democrat-controlled Senate passed any budget at all." Democrats just "don't want to commit publicly to the kind of tax increases and health-care rationing that would be required to sustain their archaic vision of government." The Democratic health care legislation, if anything, will increase entitlement spending. Only the House budget plan, the 'Path to Prosperity,' "puts the federal budget on the path to balance without resorting to job-destroying tax hikes."