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
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.