Stand still in Washington these days and you're likely to be hit by a deficit reduction plan. There's the Bowles-Simpson plan, the Coburn plan, the Coburn-Lieberman Medicare plan, the Rand Paul plan, the Paul--Graham–Lee Social Security plan, the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan, the Ryan plan, the Gang of Six plan ... heck, the only person without a specific plan is the president of the United States.
Whenever one of these plans emerges from the vapors of Capitol Hill, I reserve judgment until I hear from budget expert Keith Hennessey. Such was the case with the bipartisan Gang of Six plan, which except for its massive defense cuts sounded pretty good to me at first hearing.
Shows you what I know. In two must-read posts, Hennessey breaks the plan down and explains why "the substance of this plan is simply terrible." Bottom line: The Gang of Six wants America to trade a net tax increase for lower marginal rates, while punting on entitlements and specifically cutting only defense spending. "It's a far worse trade than Bowles-Simpson," Hennessey writes.
So there goes another plan. I continue to think that a short-term, spending-cuts-only approach that gets us past the 2012 election—a McConnell-plus, say—is the way to go. We'll see. One thing is for sure: It won't be long before we collide with yet another deficit plan.