The two chairmen of the Simpson-Bowles commission warned of dire consequences if Congress doesn't tackle a number of expiring tax and budget cuts during the lame duck session this winter.
“If we don't, then I think you will see the markets really take a really adverse look at the country," said Erskine Bowles, in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS set to air Sunday. "And I think you'll see us lose another downgrade in our credit. And I think you'll see interest rates pop up. And before long, you'll see the availability of credit lessen. So I think we could have a real problem if we don't do something and do something relatively quick.”
Bowles, who was chief of staff in the Clinton White House, said he was optimistic that, at the very least, a framework and a timeline could be established to address the expiring tax cuts and impending budget sequesters. Bowles said that he and former Sen. Alan Simpson were working with a bipartisan group in the Senate and in the House to come up with a plan, but warned that any strategy would have to include revenue increases through tax reform.
"We have the most inefficient, ineffective, globally anti-competitive tax code that man could dream up," he said, according to a transcript.
The Simpson-Bowles plan, commissioned by the president following the 2008 financial crisis, included spending cuts and a revamp of the tax code to raise revenues. It came up for a vote in the House but was defeated, and even President Obama has criticized the plan.
Simpson, however, absolved Obama, saying he expected little more in such a partisan political atmosphere.