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Deficit commission’s draft proposal recommendations incite controversy

by Adam Russett on November 11, 2010

A mix of provocation and resignation dominate the response of the entire political spectrum after the release of a proposal Wednesday for reducing the federal deficit.

President Barack Obama's bipartisan federal deficit commission came up with a variety of ambitious ideas, including plans to raise taxes and cut federal spending on government programs which sparked resentment from Democrats and Republicans alike. Others professed a grim optimism amid the heavy anxiety, seeing the draft as a necessary step towards eventual recovery.

Co-chairman of the commission Alan Simpson told reporters that the plan represented "the first time in my memory of Washington…that it's all there."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the plan was "simply unacceptable."

According to the Associated Press, major points of the proposal included increasing the Social Security retirement age to 68 by the year 2050, cutting spending on Social Security and Medicare programs, eliminating popular tax credits, freezing government salaries, reducing overseas bases, lowering White House and congressional budgets, and eliminating the tax-free status of employer-provided health care. Overall, about 75 percent of the proposed recovery would come from spending cuts, according to CNN.

The plan, which would recover $4 trillion of the deficit over the next decade, won't be versed in final copy until its December 1 deadline. At that point, it would be up for vote if 14 of the 18 commission members reach an agreement on the plan.

The chairmen of the commission said that the plan was "dead on arrival" but hoped that the proposal would mark the beginning of a more realistic dialogue concerning the nation's economy.

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