Simpson, Bowles to issue dire warning to supercommittee

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“We simply cannot delay these difficult choices anymore. Our great nation’s fiscal house is now made out of straw and any significant blow — an oil shock, a collapse in Europe — can blow our house down. This is certainly no way for such a great country to exist,” the co-chairmen will testify this afternoon.

They warn that the only thing worse than not meeting the $1.2 trillion deficit-cutting mandate would be turning off the automatic cuts that are supposed to result in 2013 if the supercommittee fails.

“A failure by this committee might result in another downgrade. The only thing worse than the committee failing to agree on savings would be if Congress followed that by voting to turn off the sequester,” they will say. “At best, a failure would shake public confidence. None of these options are acceptable.”

Simpson and Bowles back a two-step process whereby immediate savings are combined with specific recommendations and targets for the regular committees to complete fundamental tax and entitlement reform by a date certain.

“The political system, by its very nature, moves slowly and sloppily. But we don’t have a lot of time to act if we are to avert fiscal calamity,” they will warn.

The fiscal commission plan released last year won the votes of GOP members Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Mike Crapo (Idaho). It generated revenue from a simplification of the tax code that would eliminate deductions while lowering rates to spur growth. The plan also reformed Social Security by cutting benefits.