Smart move toward the middleInstead of touting an unrealistic Democratic budget plan in the face of an unrealistic Republican budget plan, U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad just did something significant — and responsible.
By: The Wisconsin State Journal, Superior Telegram
Instead of touting an unrealistic Democratic budget plan in the face of an unrealistic Republican budget plan, U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad just did something significant — and responsible.
Unfortunately, he’s also leaving Congress. That made it a lot easier for him to do the right thing, rather than what’s politically expedient during this hyper-partisan election year.
Conrad, D-N.D., who leads the Senate Budget Committee, deserves credit for pushing the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction plan last week.
The move surprised many in Washington. And it provides more attention to and momentum for the only fiscally-sound budget plan so far that’s bipartisan enough to pass.
It would slow soaring budget deficits to stabilize national debt. It would control spending on entitlements by, for example, raising the Social Security retirement age over time. It also would trim defense spending and close tax loopholes.
Conrad, who was a member of the president’s debt commission headed by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, isn’t going to force a vote on his package. That’s disappointing.
Conrad’s high-profile move to offer Bowles-Simpson as a formal resolution is nonetheless welcome as another small step toward fiscal sanity. It follows a House vote on Bowles-Simpson late last month that centrists such as U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac, wisely supported. (The rest of Wisconsin’s delegation — from Madison Democrat Tammy Baldwin on the far left to Menomonee Falls Republican Jim Sensenbrenner on the far right — stuck to their respective partisan scripts to defeat progress.)
Conrad said his latest proposal “provides a comprehensive and balanced framework on which to build upon. It is not perfect, but it does represent middle ground.”
What Wisconsin and America need more of are leaders unafraid to do the right thing even when they’re facing re-election. That also means we need more voters willing to support leaders who value workable solutions over partisan games.
Copyright (c)2012 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)
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