A month ago, Obama set up a Deficit Commission, which is charged with recommending ways the federal government can meaningfully reduce the federal deficit. There are to be 18 members, 6 appointed by Obama, 3 Democratic senators named by Harry Reid, 3 Democratic representatives, named by Nancy Pelosi, and a like number of Republicans named by Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.
Today, the USA Today reported that the Republicans named their 6 members, Senators Judd Gregg, Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo, and Representatives Paul Ryan, Dave Camp, and Jeb Hensarling. Now, all but three members (Pelosi has yet to determine her picks) have been chosen.
I wish Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles well in this endeavor. However, to my knowledge only one of these commissions has ever had fruitful results, and that was the Base Closing Commission. The difference here is that this one will have recommendations, but not a straight up and down vote, which the Base Closing Commission had, at which time its recommendations were accepted. The advantage to that system was that, since military bases are located in every state and in most Congressional districts, members whose bases were unaffected had incentives to vote for the recommendations.
I’m glad Boehner appointed Ryan, one of the few members of either party who appears to be serious, and is not just interested in raising benefits and cutting taxes, a system that may have not worked out well for federal deficits over the last decade.