Mark Warner: Deficit Commission Proposals are “solid recommendations”

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    Sen. Mark Warner has issued a statement on the work of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

    You hear a lot of talk in this town about deficit reduction. With this bipartisan framework, it’s time to put up or shut up.

    I have not completely reviewed the commission proposals yet, and I’m sure I might have made some different choices. But these appear to be solid recommendations that will help steer our nation back toward a responsible fiscal path.

    I hope these proposals receive broad bipartisan support among commission members and will be evaluated with an open mind by my colleagues.

    Many of these choices are tough, but our nation’s fiscal crisis is real, and as the ongoing crisis in Europe shows, we cannot ignore it simply because it is inconvenient.

    We must not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

    While I agree with Sen. Warner that we need to tackle the long-term, structural deficit and debt issues, that the choices are all “tough” but nonetheless have to be made, I’m not sure what he means exactly by “the perfect” being “the enemy of the good” in this context. The fact is, nothing in public policy is ever “perfect,” we’re always talking about “the good”  – or, in  many case, the “less bad” – and compromise when it comes to the “making of sausage”/legislation.  In this case, a major issue is whether we weight the deficit reduction package more in the direction of spending cuts than revenue increases, and if so, how we cut spending (entitlements? defense? “discretionary?” in a more or less progressive direction?). These are the tough questions we pay Senators like Mark Warner the “big bucks” (well, not really) to figure out. From this progressive’s perspective, I definitely don’t want to see the U.S. budget balanced on the backs of poor people and the middle class, although clearly everyone’s going to have to “give” somewhat if we’re going to solve this problem. Still, we have to start with getting rid of ALL the Bush tax cuts, as those add $4 trillion – that’s TRILLION! – to the debt over the next 10 years. To date, I haven’t heard Mark Warner agree to this, unless his positive review of the deficit commission’s work is indication that he has now changed his position. I sure hope so!

    P.S. On a related note, Sen. Webb has called for elimination of “costly ethanol subsidies and tariffs.” I couldn’t agree more, even though getting rid of subsidies would only reduce the deficit by “31 billion over the next five years.” As Webb points out, ethanol subsidies “have led to steep increases in the price of corn and other sources of feed, which have negatively affected beef cattle, dairy and poultry producers and driven up the cost to consumers of commodities like milk and eggs.” They’re also an environmental disaster and do nothing to reduce our “oil addiction.” Bad policy any way you look at it, pretty much.

    • Venu

      we shouldn’t reject the budget commission’s ideals out of hand because they’re not “ideal”. Obviously they’re not “ideal”, because we’ve sank ourselves into a squandering debt pile with endless tax-cuts and reckless spending (on both parties’ hands). If we try to hold out for the “perfect” option, we’re just waiting to be deceived by just some other politician and we’ve just set ourselves further back.  

    • KathyinBlacksburg

      I have lost faith with my party: That pols utter this, “We must not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good,” when what they really mean is “XXXX you” to all their constituents.  The cliche he spouts is nothing more than the sucking sound when we are all being shafted.  I have read most of the deficit commission report (then had to get away from the stench of it last night to stop feeling dirty from just reading the filth of an attempt to soak the middle class and entrench more goodies-upon-goodies for the rich).

      This document will not honestly do what it purports to do.  But it is an effort to demolish the middle class behind the scenes while pretending to rescue us from our deficit.  Bowles-Simpson is just destructive BS.

    • Hugo Estrada

      Let’s not get deceived here: Warner is supporting dismantling social security to afford a permanent tax-cut to millionaires.

      And I won’t buy his centrist nonsense. He could have qualified his position on the document. Instead he praised this bipartisan document and is asking for people to support its proposals.

      Also, as the document is written, we must realize that he won’t do any sacrifices himself: as a millionaire, Warner will benefit from these proposals.

      So, I ask you since you have been following local politics more than I have, can we persuade him to support social security, or is he a lost cause? If we can persuade him, we got to start working on pressuring him to take a stand for social security.

    • Jim B

      Why pick on SS when it is a stand alone program? For many people it is their only income. Businesses don’t want to pay their matching part so they wouldn’t mind if it fails. But, republicans would want to do away with it even it was funded entirely by the workers. After all it is a tax.