President Barack Obama is determined to establish a deficit commission with or without Congress’ backing and will announce plans to set up a panel regardless today. “Former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson would lead the panel, a senior administration official said Tuesday. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the president’s executive order creating the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform had not been announced. The deficit spiked to an extraordinary $1.4 trillion last year and could top that figure this year as the struggling economy puts a big dent in tax revenues. Even worse from the perspective of economists and deficit hawks, the medium-term deficit picture is for deficits to hit around $1 trillion a year for the foreseeable future. Obama and his economic team have said repeatedly that this is not sustainable. He told lawmakers during his State of the Union address that he would go around their vote and appoint a version of a deficit commission. Obama’s version of the commission is a weak substitute for what he really wanted: a panel created by Congress that could force lawmakers to consider unpopular remedies to reduce the debt, including curbing politically sensitive entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.”
Who — or what — really controls your mind?