David Wessel has an interesting piece up at the WSJ on a group of CEOs urging Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff and get on a sustainable budget path with a plan that includes both spending cuts and tax increases.
That’s obviously a big theme around here and is common sense which I hear from pretty much everyone who hasn’t come under the spell of Grover Norquist. Unfortunately, it’s a spell that’s been cast on almost every Republican in the Congress as well as Gov. Romney.
But there’s was one important point omitted from the piece. When writing about a balanced approach to fiscal policy, one that involves both spending cuts and new revenues, it should be noted that Congress and the President have actually already cut $1.5 trillion ($1.7t including interest savings) in discretionary spending, not including war costs, over the next decade.
That’s 70% of the Simpson-Bowles discretionary spending cuts! Without that point, I suspect many readers will think we need to start with spending cuts and then we’ll talk taxes. In fact, Grover himself is cited in the piece as follows:
“When bipartisan deals are struck promising to cut spending and raise taxes, the spending cuts don’t materialize but the tax hikes do.”
But Grover–dude!–a big start on the spending cuts has already materialized…so it’s tax revenue time, right? Grover?…anyone…?