Erskine Bowles on the Ryan Plan

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 13, 2012

Erskine Bowles, who was Barack Obama’s pick to co-head up the bipartisan deficit commission along with former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson–and who was also Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and a Democratic Senate candidate in his home state of North Carolina–thinks that the Ryan plan is more serious than any plan put out by the White House. As Ed Morrissey points out, this does not mean that Bowles prefers the Ryan plan over the Simpson-Bowles recommendations, and it doesn’t mean that Bowles likes all of the Ryan plan. However, he clearly likes enough of it to think highly of the plan and the plan’s author, and as ought to be clear to everyone, the Ryan plan certainly beats the non-plan the White House has put out in order to address the country’s entitlement problems.

If false, willy-nilly accusations that Republicans want to kill old people were all that would be necessary to do something about the monumental problems facing the nation’s entitlement programs, then the Obama administration would most certainly have solved those problems by now with their slash-and-burn campaign against any Republican brave enough to offer solutions. Unfortunately, all the negative campaigning in the world on the part of the administration, its allies in Congress and throughout the punditocracy, and the president’s re-election campaign won’t be enough to save Social Security and Medicare. Only bold policies can do that.

The Obama administration has had nearly four years to put those policies in place. It has failed. Simpson-Bowles gave them a pathway towards solving our entitlement problems, but the administration refused to embrace the recommendations of its very own commission–the one that the president himself set up. To say that this president cannot be taken seriously anymore when it comes to solving America’s entitlement crisis is to understate matters.

It’s time to give someone else a crack at solving those problems. We’ve waited long enough for Barack Obama to act, and it is clear that he won’t.

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