Simpson and Bowles and austerity's other sales people aren't really economic thinkers. They're paid to pitch a product. They didn't invent austerity any more than Alex Rodriguez invented Pepsi. But what they're peddling isn't a soft drink. It's a lot worse for you than that.
Imagine that a substantial group of the most prominent astronomer insisted that the sun goes around the earth, as anyone can plainly see. There would likely be huge numbers of people who refused to accept that the earth goes around the sun. This is the state of modern economics.
I can only think of this metaphor, which I believe is apt: There's a ticking time bomb in your living room, you know the bomb will certainly explode in 10 to 15 years, and you choose only to reassure your family, "There is no 'immediate' danger." That is pretty much the situation we face today.
When fiscal crises become the "new normal" the public begins to remember that they elected politicians to do a job. And part of their job description is to take care of the public purse and not to create problems where none exist.
In addition to his current duties as professional-liberal-even-Joe-Sixpack-can-love on MSNBC, Ballard Spahr court jester, Rendell is currently co-chairing the steering committee of something called The CEO Campaign To Fix The Debt.
Congress needs to finish its fiscal work successfully and quickly and then pass legislation that will stimulate job creation and growth and development of the economy for the middle class and the working poor.
The Simpson-Bowles personal profit tour reveals that for them, for their creation -- the speciously labeled Campaign to Fix the Debt -- and for the CEOs, right-wing groups and Republicans rallying round them, the effort has nothing to do with deficits or fixing anything.
After eating too much turkey, Congress returned to Washington this week with more opinions than my politically divided family about how we can reduce our federal deficit before the New Year when time runs out, and the federal budget turns in to a speeding car driving off the "fiscal cliff."
We know nothing about President Obama's meeting on Wednesday with CEOs to discuss the fiscal cliff. But we can hope that it was hostile and unproductive, because the CEOs are hypocrites with terrible ideas.
The Bowles-Simpson plan, which corporate CEOs, leaders of both parties in Congress and even newly reelected President Obama has indicated could be a conversation starter for the debt and tax negotiations to follow this election, could turn back the clock for older Americans.
Bringing health care costs in the United States in line with costs in other wealthy countries should not be an impossible task. After all, the U.S. can't be that much more corrupt than Italy, Spain, or the other countries that have managed to contain their health care costs.