November 17, 2010
The report by the president's debt commission wasn't supposed to be released until December 1, but parts of it have come out. Commission Co-Chair Alan Simpson claims they have harpooned every whale and minnow in the budget.
Not exactly. The most important entitlement decision in the entire package, writes National Review Online's James Capretta, is the explicit endorsement of Obamacare. The debt commission proposals, he says, would leave in place the entire trillion-dollar monstrosity. Indeed, many of its supposed cost-cutting recommendations would build on Obamacare's flawed structure of cost-cutting driven by government, which gave us the financial problem in the first place.
This sounds to me like smoke and mirrors, locking in the problems that have caused much of the debt while applying window-dressing to fake the people out that something is actually being done. What the debt commission should do is make every program and federal agency justify its existence. They should be re-authorized every five years. That would cut spending and the debt.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.