Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

What you need to know about the new Simpson-Bowles plan

1. The plan put forth by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the Moment of Truth project, and called "A Bipartisan Path Forward to Securing America's Future," can be downloaded at http://momentoftruthproject.org/publications.

2. The new plan intends to save $2.4 trillion - which would replace and double the savings of the sequester - beyond the $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction that's already been enacted. So that's $5.1 trillion in total deficit reduction.

3. The new plan includes about $600 billion in revenue through tax reform, which would mean total new revenue would be about $1.2 trillion after including the fiscal cliff deal. So-called "chained-CPI," which increases revenue as well as cutting Social Security benefits, would push that to about $1.3 trillion. That's around what President Barack Obama proposed in his final offer during the fiscal cliff negotiations, but it's less than half the new revenue contained in the original Simpson-Bowles plan. So Simpson and Bowles have revised the tax ask way, way down.

4. A more detailed comparison isn't yet possible. What we have so far is an outline, not a plan. We don't know the size of the discretionary cuts. We don't know the size of the mandatory cuts. We don't know any of the policies save for chained-CPI. All of that's forthcoming. "Right now, all they've released is a framework," says Marc Goldwein, policy director at the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget. "They want to spend a couple of weeks getting comments and input."

5. The exact numbers haven't been released yet, but total discretionary spending cuts will be lower than in the original Simpson-Bowles plan, Goldwein tells me.

6. This isn't meant to be an update to Simpson-Bowles 1.0. Rather, it's meant to be an outline for a new grand bargain. To that end, Simpson and Bowles began with Obama and House Speaker John Boehner's final offers from the fiscal cliff deal. That helps explain why their tax ask has fallen so far: Obama's final tax ask was far lower than what was in the original Simpson-Bowles plan, while Boehner's tilt towards spending cuts was far greater than what was in the original Simpson-Bowles.

7. That said, while this plan doesn't include more tax increases than Obama asked for, it does include significantly more than the $1 trillion in spending cuts than Boehner asked for - about $500 to $700 billion more, if I'm reading it right. In increasing the total deficit reduction, Simpson and Bowles have put the weight on the spending side of the budget.

8. In that way, this plan sacrifices the most useful element of the original Simpson-Bowles effort, which was that it created a model - not the only model, of course - for how you might go about reducing the deficit if you weren't bound by the various promises, interest groups and political constraints of the two parties. This plan, by contrast, is an effort to split the difference between the two parties while amping up the total deficit reduction.

Comments
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Hillsborough commissioners approve referendum on making county officers non-partisan

Hillsborough commissioners approve referendum on making county officers non-partisan

TAMPA — The debate over whether "Rep" or "Dem" should be on the ballot alongside the name of candidates for sheriff or property appraiser is now in the hands of Hillsborough County voters.Hillsborough County commissioners voted 5-2 Wednesday to hold ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

TAMPA — Mortar & Pestle, a fledgling Seminole Heights eatery with a mom-and-pop pharmacy theme, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Seacoast Bank was listed as the creditor with the largest unsecured claim: $1.4 million.The restaurant...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Column: It’s time for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to process concealed weapons licenses

It is hard to believe that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs didn’t discover for a year that an employee could not log into an account needed to see results of background checks that examined, among other things, whether applicants f...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Twenty-five years ago, I was a reporter at WTSP-TV, out in the field covering Tampa Bay’s Independence Day celebrations. I expected an easy assignment talking about families and fireworks. Then the newsroom called with an urgent message: I needed to ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
15 arrested in Hillsborough construction fraud sting, one for the eighth time

15 arrested in Hillsborough construction fraud sting, one for the eighth time

TAMPA — The contractors arriving at the Brandon home thought they were meeting with a potential customer. They were wrong.In fact, the would-be clients were undercover detectives and the contractors, lacking a license to ply their trade, left the hom...
Updated: 3 hours ago
As Border Patrol searches its buses, Greyhound is pulled into immigration uproar

As Border Patrol searches its buses, Greyhound is pulled into immigration uproar

He was a 12-year Miami resident originally from Trinidad, taken off a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by U.S. Border Patrol agents in January.She was a 60-something Jamaican national who had just met her granddaughter for the first time, w...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Phil Mickelson apologizes four days after hitting moving ball at U.S. Open

Phil Mickelson apologizes four days after hitting moving ball at U.S. Open

NEW YORK — Phil Mickelson has apologized four days after intentionally violating golf rules by hitting a moving ball on the green at the U.S. Open, saying his frustration got the best of him. The apology came Wednesday in a statement released by his ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Could Lucky’s Market move in to Clearwater’s old Albertsons?

Could Lucky’s Market move in to Clearwater’s old Albertsons?

Lucky’s Market is considering a move in to the old Albertsons box space in Clearwater, according to preliminary plans filed with the city. Lucky’s master broker, Rick Lewellyn, was listed on an agenda as discussing renovating the existing property wi...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Couple leased someone else’s home to 12 families at same time, Largo police say

Couple leased someone else’s home to 12 families at same time, Largo police say

LARGO — At least 12 families leased the same Largo home at the same time and lost as much as $4,300 each in a fraud scheme run by a couple who portrayed themselves as owners of the property, Largo police said.Police learned of the scheme Tuesday afte...
Updated: 4 hours ago