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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Deficit Reduction Commission Seeks Increase in its Budget

Tax AnalystsEric Kroh, Fiscal Commission Bemoans Lack of Resources, 2010 TNT 106-2 (June 3, 2010):

Saddled with a tight deadline and great expectations, members of President Obama's deficit reduction commission say they may not have the resources necessary to meet their task.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which the president created through an executive order in February, is charged with developing a plan by December 1 that would stabilize the budget deficit by 2015 and reduce the federal debt over the long term. The group is widely expected to consider a combination of tax reforms and spending cuts.

But despite the weighty demands, the panel has only a fraction of the staff and budget of standing congressional committees. The panel's own cochairs and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have criticized the meager resources and called for more support. ...

According to fiscal commission staffers, there are 10 to 15 people who work for the commission, including two full-time employees, interns, employees "borrowed" from other agencies such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Treasury Department, and special government employees, who are expected to work no more than 130 days in a calendar year. The number of workers will likely grow to around 20 by midsummer.

The White House has set aside the resources to provide the equivalent of four full-time salaries and $500,000 in operating costs for the commission, fiscal commission Executive Director Bruce Reed told Tax Analysts.

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Comments

How much time and money does it take to issue a press release saying the Federal government needs a VAT, and should generically root out WFA (waste, fraud and abuse)? That's all they're gonna do, everybody knows it.

Seems like a couple of hundred bucks would do.

Posted by: Marty | Jun 5, 2010 8:07:14 AM

"...members of President Obama's deficit reduction commission say they may not have the resources necessary to meet their task."

Well, it's a start. Now they need to begin pushing this condition into other departments.

Posted by: grichens | Jun 5, 2010 8:12:10 AM

"Four full-time salaries and $500,000" -- in other words, about $1 million -- for a thumbsucking report that will pass from commission to pigeonhole without even being read, let alone considered. In Washington terms, a veritable bargain.

Posted by: wagnert in atlanta | Jun 5, 2010 8:34:22 AM

What a downer. You get picked for a special congressional commitee at the same time you're hearing the figures 'billions' and 'trillions' being tossed around. You're thinking ka-ching ka-ching, boat, BMW, cottage, mistress... and then you find out the budget is a measley half million. What a letdown. No wonder 'government workers' hold taxpayers in contempt.

Posted by: Arty | Jun 5, 2010 9:07:34 AM

Well sure, how can they possibly put together a 10,000 page report that says absolutely nothing with these meager resources? Federal level obfuscation takes specialized talent, time and lots of perks.

Posted by: tim maguire | Jun 5, 2010 10:13:06 AM

Two sides to this. I would pay a billion dollars for a commission with "integrity" to come up with a strategy to save us from financial collapse. What are the chances that politics with their short term goals would trump any rational solution to our very real debt problem? Almost always happens, particularly in the past twenty years or so.

So I guess the thought was let's get this solved without adequate resources or funding to the commission that we called for and chose the members. This is another example of an administration that is in not capable and as such is reckless and dangerous to the country's well being, perhaps survival.

Posted by: DC Lovell | Jun 5, 2010 10:27:53 AM

Not setting a very good example, are they?

I bet that the participants in this blog could brainstorm for free and come up with better deficit reduction ideas in a week than the committee will come up with in a year.

My first suggestion - stop creating all these costly study committees for issues that the President should be handling without them.

Posted by: Woody | Jun 5, 2010 10:30:18 AM

You get picked for a special congressional commitee at the same time you're hearing the figures 'billions' and 'trillions' being tossed around. You're thinking ka-ching ka-ching, boat, BMW, cottage, mistress... and then you find out the budget is a measley half million. What a letdown.

Posted by: Jackie | Jun 5, 2010 1:25:54 PM

The commission is over three months old and their report is due on December 1. They are just now realizing they don't have the needed resources?

In an ideal world, Obama should do two things:

1. Allocate the needed resources.
2. Fire & replace every member of the commission for not recognizing ab initio what they needed to do their job. If necessary, adjust the deadline accordingly.

In the actual world, I view the commission as a bipartisan scam to bypass the voters and impose major tax increases, including a VAT. IMO nobody in government is yet serious about getting the deficit under control, let alone cutting back spending: this, despite what's happening abroad and to the more profligate among our state and local governments. IMO the political class intends to engineer at least one more major increase in the level of government spending before they are forced to confront the fiscal abyss.

Back to the ideal world. Three words: Deep. Spending. Cuts.

Posted by: gs | Jun 5, 2010 3:01:45 PM

It is as if they want to dramatize---to enact---the problem they wish to address, which means the next step will be a proposal for tax increases, perhaps a VAT, combined with stern words about how those husband taxpayers funds need to act responsibly.

Posted by: g.v. wilkes iv | Jun 5, 2010 11:39:12 PM

My previous comment suggested that Obama fire all members of the commission for their poor planning. I overreacted.

Upon reflection, I believe that only the co-chairmen and executive director should be fired.

Posted by: gs | Jun 6, 2010 10:10:36 AM

Should be called "The committee to cut the legs off americans in the least noticeable way."

Or

"How to royally screw the economy and citizens and not get the blame".

OR

"How to milk them for all they got without actually touching their teets."

Posted by: Chris | Jun 7, 2010 6:19:12 AM

They're doing it wrong. The commission should be staffed with the most adept organizational climbers, the Russians call them apparatchiks, and funded only by the funding they pull from agencies and programs they shut down.

Posted by: Jerry in Detroit | Jun 7, 2010 8:05:25 AM

It's the height of irresponsibility: the irresponsible President and the irresponsible Congress can't tell America they've spent all the money and must use a commission to hide behind to tell them they have to pony up more money because we surely need all of these social services and nothing can be cut!!

In the end, we're all living on the outside of Mr. Jones' house and everyone on the inside curiously looks the same.

Posted by: Chris Bolts Sr | Jun 7, 2010 1:09:54 PM

It's the height of stupidity for someone who has added so much to our debt to even suggest this commission. I would suggest that anyone who still supports Obama will never wake from their dumb induced stupor. This whole commission is a joke that is never intended to change govt.

Posted by: Jonathan McLain | Jun 7, 2010 2:12:45 PM

If you're not running a scam in America, you can't make money.

You can bitch about those running scams, or you can join us. I'd suggest joining.

Posted by: NOTaREALmerican | Jun 7, 2010 2:25:25 PM

I was under the impression that it was Congresses job to control the deficit. I guess I was wrong again.

Posted by: Cathy Rumbaugh | Jun 9, 2010 4:32:15 AM

They only need one guy on this commission... Chris Christie.

Posted by: Hank | Jun 13, 2010 6:58:30 PM