The authors of the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction plan address a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast on the plan they proposed, why it failed to gain traction in the Congress, and what Congress must do in the next month to avoid the "Fiscal Cliff."
In 2010, President Obama asked Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) and Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, under Bill Clinton, to create a Presidential Commission to study and develop recommendations to deal with the national debt in the medium-to-long term. The bipartisan commission released a report in December 2010, but a vote to formally endorse the recommendations failed.
The blueprint the commission developed involved sharp austerity and additional revenue. It failed to gain enough support in Congress to make it viable. It was one of many ideas discussed prior to the passage of the Budget Control Act, which mandates the sharp spending cuts, known as sequestration, that is one-half of the so-called "fiscal cliff."
Now that negotiations are underway to prevent the "fiscal cliff," the Simpson-Bowles plan is getting more attention as a possible starting point for bipartisan talks.