Paul Krugman devotes his column today to the unreality of the debate in Washington on the budget and the deficit. Towards the end of the piece he refers Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson the co-chairs of President Obama's deficit commission:
"People like Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the co-chairmen of President Obama’s deficit commission, did a lot to feed public anxiety about the deficit when it was high. Their report was ominously titled 'The Moment of Truth.'"
While Krugman is correct in referring to the report as "their report," Simpson and Bowles were not so honest. The website for the commission refers to the report as the "report of the national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform." However, this is not true.
Those who prefer truth to truthiness might notice that the bylaws say:
"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 in fact is no record of an official vote of the commisssion and certainly not by the December 1, 2010 deadline. There was an informal vote of December 3rd, in which 11 of the commission's members, 3 fewer than required under the by-laws, voted in favor of the final report.
Therefore under the bylaws that govern the operation of the commission, there was no final report. In other words, the "moment of truth" was a lie. The report that appears as the commission's "report" is not in fact a report of the commission.
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