Monday, June 4, 2012

Erskine Bowles on deficit, McCrory, NC gov job

Former UNC System President Erskine Bowles dropped by to chat with us on the Observer editorial board this morning about the national debt and a few other things. Democrat Bowles, also former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, is teamed up Republican Alan Simpson, a former U.S. senator from Wyoming as co-chairs of a bipartisan deficit reduction commission appointed by President Obama.

The panel came up with a framework for the reducing the debt, but it hasn't gotten very far in a Congress with a "huge partisan divide", as Bowles noted. Even President Obama didn't embrace it, for reasons Bowles noted later in our 90-minute interview, and that you'll read later in this blog post. Nevertheless, Bowles said he remains hopeful about Congress acting on the matter, that there are lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who understand that, and that he's optimistic the magic number needed to move on the issue will materialize. He said it will take continued pushing by the media and the public to make sure that happens. Here's what he said on a few specific things during our talk.

On his decision not to run for governor:
Bowles talked about how the career choices he made all his life have taken him away from his wife and kids. "My wife and I have been married for 41 years but we've been dating for 21 of them... I really cheated my family, that's just a fact. This is like a do-over for me."

On McCrory:
"I think Pat's a really sweet, nice person," Bowles said. He added that McCrory's experience as mayor will help him, but suggested that's not enough. "If he had other arrows in his quiver, he'd be better equipped to do it." ... "You need someone who will stand up to the legislature. Will Pat be strong enough to stand up and be that moderating influence on a Republican House and a Republican Senate?" Bowles asked. He worries McCrory won't.

On the debt commission work:
Bowles said he and Simpson are working to have the panel's approach put into legislation, and run it whenever it makes sense. "We call it the Cialis plan. When the time is right, we'll be ready."

On health care and the national debt.
Health care, not revenues, will be the stumbling block to getting a debt plan done, Bowles said.

On Obama's not taking up his debt commission's bipartisan plan:
"As president, you get a distorted view of where things are. President Obama told me what he thought: That if he embraced our plan, it would have less chance of success, not more." Obama thought it was better to try to negotiate with Boehner than to go public embracing the Bowles-Simpson plan. "I thought that was wrong and I said so, flat-out, loudly. ... I was disappointed. I thought he'd be much better off saying, 'There are things in here I don't like, but this is the framework we need.'"

Posted by Fannie Flono


GTP said...

clown lost 2 state-wide elections is more likely why he decided not to run but nice dig at McCrory

GTP said...

If he thinks McCory is to inexperienced then he must certainly think the same of Obozo; no management experience and served less than 1 Senate termryingim

Abby Normal said...

Here's the deal. Obama passed on the debt commission's recommendations, mostly good recommendations, because it lacked what he wanted the MOST.... a Value Added Tax.

kantstanzya said...

Bowles is being as nice as he can to Obama but it is easy to read between the lines.

Bowles Simpson was agreed to by a bi-Partisan panel. It would have been a great base for legislation and would have passed congress as he himself has admitted. Barack Obama not only ignored it he would not even mention it. He preferred to pretend the GOP was obstructing progress. He preferred, as he always does, politics over substance.

Bowles said in Nov. 2011 "I believe it was those Chicago guys, the political team that convinced him it would be smarter to wait and let Paul Ryan go first." Then he could pick Ryan apart instead of actually offering anything himself.

His best line about Obama was "As President you get a distorted view of where things are." That's for sure!

As to criticizing McCrory because "he might not be able to stand up and be a moderating influence" I guess to the conservative Republicans? Funny coming from a guy who couldn't stand up to or moderate the Obama extreme left wing of his own party. As a result we now have what Bowles himself called "the most predictable economic crisis in history."