Simpson-Bowles is the solution to the 'fiscal cliff'

There is a shovel-ready solution to this mess (“Conservatives urge GOP leaders to be bold, prepare to go over cliff,” Dec. 23). The president and congressional leaders should agree to the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission recommendations as a substitute for sequestration and pass it next week. Simpson-Bowles, developed by a panel made up equally of Democrats and Republicans, is the original “Plan A” and the only truly bipartisan existing deficit reduction plan. It would avoid the “fiscal cliff” and provide an alternative baseline to sequestration that, due to its origin, is roughly where the negotiations will eventually end up anyway.

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At this point, reaching a deal on the budget deficit before Dec. 31 is far more important than the specific details of the deal. If Congress and the president passed Simpson-Bowles, potential political and economic disaster would be averted and the vast majority of voters and our nation’s creditors would be relieved. The level of public confidence in the ability of our government to deal with the many other major policy challenges would also be at least slightly improved.

The president and congressional leaders could sell Simpson-Bowles to their supporters as just a temporary solution while they continue their negotiations. It does contain some of the objectives sought by both sides, and uncompromising members of the far right and far left could also continue to demand that its replacement include no compromises whatsoever.

Both sides will be able to continue their budget negotiations/grandstanding and modify Simpson-Bowles to their liking sooner or later in the decade. At the same time most voters will also be able to breathe a huge collective sigh of relief and enjoy the balance of the holidays. Frankly, my dears, we would not give a darn what happened next in a drama that has gotten pretty tiresome and may well fail in the end anyway.
Arlington, Va.