Perhaps the Republicans need to consider reviving the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles package as their Republican bargaining strategy over the next few months.
The main stumbling block for Republicans –the tax increase for highest income earners — was settled during the Fiscal Cliff deal when the tax margin was raised for the $400/$450K threshold. Meanwhile, while the Democrats despise the spending cuts in SB, it could be argued (as it was previously debated in 2010 and 2011) that the cuts are the necessary counterpart to the tax increases which the Republicans already yielded to –a true “balanced approach”.
The virtues of Simpson-Bowles are that it includes entitlement reform, actually reins in spending, simplifies the tax code, and most importantly, is a bipartisan commission that originated from President Obama. And because Simpson-Bowles originally had more Democrat support than Republican support, it would put the Democrats in a tough spot if they rejected it once again.
Coming off the miserable Fiscal Cliff deal and treading water in the debt ceiling and sequestration debates to come, offering the Simpson-Bowles package may be just what the Republicans need as a rallying point for true reform. The package is already written and we all know what is in it — just do it!
Crossposted at alanjoelny.com