image: twolf

I consider this to be one of the more significant wins for progressives in the past few years. While Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are still trying to push for a deficit deal, even Simpson now acknowledges that attaching their names to any proposal would likely hurt it.

On Morning Joe Simpson said during his call for a debt deal, “don’t use our names because that might be too volatile. We are both on the witness protection program now.” While the statement was partly in jest, it contains a significant amount of truth.

Back during the height of the deficit hysteria Simpson was once depicted as an elder statesman here to save America with his almost divine wisdom in the form of a deficit plan. The Simpson-Bowles plan was once held up as some gold standard of conventional wisdom even though it relied on magic asterisks to do most of the work.

Progressives renamed this plan the “catfood commission,” showing the real human suffering their proposal would cause, demonstrated its significant policy failings, exposed Simpson as a bully, and in general made the entire thing politically toxic.

Simpson was once frequently invoked by Obama but now he struggles to get anyone to pay attention to the latest rehash of his proposal. Progressives mostly won this messaging war even with the other side literally spending hundreds of millions.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at