Simpson-Bowles and the fiscal cliff

Co-chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, former Sen. Alan Simpson, (R-WY)(R), and Erskine Bowles (L), at a Joint Deficit Reduction Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on November 1, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The first presidential debate re-introduced the American public to "Simpson-Bowles," which quickly became the most popular search term following the debate. "Simpson-Bowles" is shorthand for the 2010 deficit-cutting proposal released by Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, and Alan Simpson, former Republican senator, who co-chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

Different aspects of this plan made their way into Mitt Romney's and Barack Obama's economic plans and were mentioned in the presidential debates.

The Simpson-Bowles plan is still in the news as pundits and politicians speculate about what a bipartisan budget compromise will look like.

In a recent commentary in the Washington Post, Bowles expressed hope that Republicans and Democrats will unite behind a plan like the one he co-authored:

I am confident that the president and Congress can agree to such a plan. Nearly three years' worth of work has gone into developing the policies and raising awareness on the need for a comprehensive plan. Members of both parties and both houses understand this. So do concerned citizens across the country -- 300,000 of whom have signed a petition at, demanding that Washington act.

The only ingredient missing is political will. Betting the country in the hopes of generating that political will is not the answer. Coming together for the greater good is.

Guests on the Daily Circuit today are Marc Goldwein, policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and former senior staff on the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission and the Hensarling-Murray Super Committee; Joel Friedman, vice president for federal fiscal policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Robert Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. They'll discuss the Simpson-Bowles plan and the role it will play in current budget negotiations.

WATCH an interview with Erskine and Bowles recorded last week as part of the forum "Post Election: The Fiscal Cliff and Beyond," held in the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Are you willing, as a taxpayer, to accept higher income taxes and billions in spending cuts for programs you might support? On our blog, tell us how you would fix the debt.

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