♠ Posted by Emmanuel in Cheneynomics at 6/05/2010 11:52:00 PMI will soon put up a more detailed post on how, given its current trajectory, there will be no private sector left in America. For now, let me just point our some tragicomedy in the world's most famous fiscal black hole. Supposedly tasked with finding ways of curbing unsustainable American profligacy, the Foundry now relays how Obama's fiscal commission is itself running out of money. Well surprise, surprise! It's so typically American--melding lofty ambition, undeliverable promises, and bankrupt execution. The whole blog post is well worth reading, but here's the part which catches my attention:
President Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission is operating on a shoestring budget and some panel members and lawmakers worry that it may run short of money. The 18-member commission faces the daunting challenge of coming up with proposals by Dec. 1 to tame the federal government’s trillion-dollar budget deficit. But the panel’s own budget is only $500,000, barely enough to cover office rent and the salaries of four staff members.So, should this "fiscal commission" now run massive deficits like the rest of America it was once supposed to remedy? Like those Chinese students who figured Geithner out sometime ago, America's fiscal situation inspires peals of condescending laughter. Face it: America is quite a joke.
And though the White House and Treasury have loaned the panel experts from their own payrolls, and several think tanks are helping as well, the total full-time staff currently is only about 15 people and not expected to exceed 20. Money is so tight that the commission recently abandoned hopes of holding field hearings around the country to gather views from outside of Washington.
Indeed, the commission only reimburses the travel expenses to and from Washington for its two co-chairs, former Republican senator Alan K. Simpson and Democrat Erskine W. Bowles. Simpson lives in Wyoming and Bowles lives in North Carolina. But the panel’s two other non-Washington members, Ann Fudge and David Cote, have to pay their own way to meetings.
The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, in a recent letter to President Obama, quietly relayed his worries about the commission’s resources after meeting with Bowles and Simpson. “They expressed concern that the commission could use additional support to help it work more effectively,’’ Reid wrote to Obama on May 28. “In particular, they informed me that the staff resources available to assist the commission are very limited. This is concerning, especially given the breadth and difficulty of the issues that the commission must address.”