There Was No Bowles-Simpson Commission Report
|Monday, 27 February 2012 05:16|
The New York Times badly misled readers by repeatedly referring to a report of the deficit reduction commission led by former Senator Alan Simpson and Morgan Stanley Director Erskine Bowles. There was no report from this commission.
The report discussed in this article was exclusively the report of the co-chairs. It did not receive the necessary support of 14 members of the commission that would have made it an official commission report, a point noted only in passing toward the end of the piece.
This mis-characterization is extremely important in the context of the piece, because the main point of the article is that President Obama ignored the report of a commission he appointed. Since this commission did not approve a report, the premise of the article is wrong.
The piece also misled readers when it asserted that, "benefits for an aging population soon would increase deficits to unsustainable levels." In fact, the main problem is rising private sector health care costs that were projected to make Medicare and Medicaid unaffordable. The increased costs due to aging alone are quite gradual and affordable.
It is also worth noting that much of the projected long-term deficit would disappear if the Affordable Care Act is as successful in containing costs as projected by the Medicare Trustees.