Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Deficit Commission on Right Track . . .

My first cut at the Bowles-Simpson deficit-commission recommendation is that it basically moves the ball in the right direction. It goes after entitlements, domestic and defense discretionary. It puts some kind of freeze on federal hiring and salaries. It lowers the corporate tax, flattens the personal tax, and gets rid of a bunch of tax-expenditure loopholes.

However, it should be much, much tougher on spending. By 2015 the baseline should be lowered by at least $500 billion, if not more — not just $200 billion.

And there should be a much more aggressive, true, flat-tax reform, with no more than two brackets of 15 and 28 percent, and preferably one bracket somewhere south of 20 percent. Plus, capital gains and dividends, which would go up under the commission, should be abolished altogether, along with the estate tax. And corporate tax reform should have a lower top rate and should include full cash expensing for new investment in plants and equipment.

And finally, to ensure economic growth over the long run, we need a King Dollar currency reform linked to a gold reference point to stabilize and protect the value of our money.

However, if Dick Durbin and Nancy Pelosi oppose the Bowles-Simpson commission, then I know I’m right that the new proposals are at least on the right track.

What I gather is that 14 votes from the 18-member commission guarantees an up or down vote in Congress. That makes it interesting.