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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press E.J. Dionne Inadvertently Gives Evidence on the "Right's Stealthy Coup"

E.J. Dionne Inadvertently Gives Evidence on the "Right's Stealthy Coup"

Monday, 02 April 2012 04:05

In his column today, titled "the right's stealthy coup," E.J. Dionne discussed the takeover of the Republican Party by its extreme right-wing. For example, he noted that the Republican Supreme Court justices appear to be taking positions that even President Reagan's solicitor general considers absurd.

Dionne then shows how effective the right has been in their stealthy coup effort when he refers to "a vote on the deficit-reduction proposals offered by the commission headed by former Sen. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton."

Of course there were no deficit-reduction proposals offered by the commission. The commission never issued any proposals. The by-laws of the commission clearly state:

"The Commission shall vote on the approval of a final report containing a set of recommendations to achieve the objectives set forth in the Charter no later than December 1, 2010. The issuance of a final report of the Commission shall require the approval of not less than 14 of the 18 members of the Commission."

There was no vote taken by December 1 on any plan. There was an informal poll of members on December 3, 2010. This poll found that 11 of the 18 commission members supported the proposal put forward by the commission co-chairs, Morgan Stanley Director Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson.

This means that the proposals that Dionne refers to as coming from the commission are in fact just proposals from the co-chairs. They cannot accurately be called proposals from the commission.

Remarkably, the right is using public money to advance this deception. The commission's website inaccurately posted the report of the co-chairs as a report of the commission. Showing an extraordinary sense of irony, they titled the report, "the moment of truth."

Comments (4)Add Comment
written by coberly, April 02, 2012 8:35
the right wins the propaganda war because they pick a lie and stick to it. ignoring both reality and arguments against.

we lose the propaganda war because by arguing against their lies small details, we give credibility to the big lie.

the trouble with simpson - bowles is not that the committee didn't actually endorse it. the trouble is that it is founde on the iie that Social Security is a cause of the deficits.
SS has nothing to do with the deficits. (The payroll tax holiday IS contributing to the deficit. But the tax holiday is NOT Social Security. It is the opposite of Social Security: a clever plan to destroy SS by changing it from "worker funded" to "deficit funded."

Moreover SS is not going broke. Not even in 30 years. It can pay benefits greater in real value than today's forever. If the workers 30 years from now, who are going to live longer than their grandparents, will want to keep up with their own increasing standard of living, they would need to raise their own payroll tax one half of one tenth of one percent per year... about forty cents per week. This will give them a monthly benefit worth 50% more than today's...

And if the workers continue to pay for their own benefits, eventually the people will understand why SS can never go broke, and why it can never add to the deficit.
written by Ellis, April 02, 2012 9:40
And what about liberal Democrats? I know it's an election year, but why do you give Obama a free pass? Didn't he and the Democrats help appoint the commission? Didn't Bill Clinton try to cut Social Security? And Jimmy Carter did cut it. When George Bush tried to cut Social Security, the Democratic leadership in Congress said they would do it, if he took privatization off the table. The other thing you ignore is how various administrations, Republican and Democrat, have actually cut Social Security benefits by changing the way inflation is calculated. This means every year, benefits fall farther and farther behind the rise in prices.
Crab Apple Simpson and Bowles on Charlie Rose's show on PBS
written by jumpinjezebel, April 02, 2012 11:01
After listening to these two on Rose I can't figure how Obama thought he was appointing counterbalance to the Right wing who are intent on destroying Medicare and Social Security. Bowles is in their boat about selling out the middle class. Maybe he'll be campaigning for the Paul Ryan budget plan next!!!
There were actually two recommendations
written by John Q, April 02, 2012 6:03
issued by members of the commission, the one referenced by Mr. Dionne, and the more realistic proposal you'll find here:

Funny how it never gets mentioned in the press, isn't it?

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.