The progressive coalition against fiscally foolish austerity scored a significant victory today, defeating the undemocratic Conrad-Gregg deficit commission in the Senate. We’ve prevented the Pete Peterson scare rhetoric from making the Senate junk their own rules and committees to ram through dangerous cuts in Social Security and Medicare.
The White House is now expected to form its own debt commission to appease right-leaning Democrats, but there won’t be the same statutory requirement to circumvent congressional committees, prevent any amendments and squelch reasoned debate.
So an executive commission is better than the alternative, but also means the fight against the austerity posse is far from over.
We still need to make sure any commission does not fire at the wrong targets of Social Security and Medicare, which are not causing any long-term fiscal threat. The broader issue of skyrocketing health care costs is the main concern.
And we need to make sure the commission does not aim to prematurely rush deficit reduction before we can sustain a robust recovery from one of the worst recessions in history.
We’re not going to recover 7 million lost jobs overnight, let alone revitalize America’s crumbling infrastructure, expand access to higher education, unleash a clean energy economy and reposition America to compete in a 21st global economy.
We can responsibly and patiently tackle deficits over the long-term without depriving America of the imminent investments needed to have an economy that works for all.
We won one battle for the economy today, but there are likely more to come.