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So, Ah — What’s Simpson-Bowles? Jack’s Master Debaters have the Answer

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Problem with presidential debates is the candidates assume that the common voter is going to know what the heck they are talking about. During last night’s debate between Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama they talked about Simpson-Bowles. For the record, the plan has nothing to do with Homer, Jessica or O.J.

So for viewers who don’t watch Meet the Press every week here’s a basic explanation so you can be better informed during the next debate. It’s a deficit reducing plan presented by two old guys, former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and Democratic Economic Advisor Erskine Bowles, that cuts federal spending dramatically. It’s the buzz word in Washington right now, but like most plans it’s garnered a great deal of debate between Republicans and Democrats. Last night both candidates agreed that for the most part they like Simpson-Bowles –as long as their iniatives weren’t affected.

Obama doesn’t want to see cuts in social programs, and Romney doesn’t want to see tax increases or changes in capital gains taxes. Yep, once again partisan politics gets in the way of a plan created through cooperation.

The plan uses a three to one ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases to pay off the deficit in about 10 years. It calls for cuts in defense, income limits on social security, capping medicare, reducing farm subsidies, adding a federal gas tax, eliminating funding to NPR and PBS (poor big bird), capping government revenue, and eliminating fossil fuel research.

 Of course both Democrats and Republicans have horses in that race and don’t want to see their programs cut, so they’ve each adopted their own variations of the Simpson-Bowles plan. You got to love government.

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