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After years of delivering truckloads of federal dollars to New Mexico, Pete Domenici has returned to an old love – deficit reduction. Lately he and former White House budget director Alice Rivlin stepped up to champion the Bipartisan Policy Center’s plan to reduce the deficit.
Domenici, Rivlin and their fellow travelers have the luxury of proposing measures their former bases might find disturbing. The plan, 60 percent spending cuts and 40 percent tax increases, would reduce the budget deficit by $5.9 trillion over the next nine years.
There’s something for everyone to like and dislike, but the most controversial would be a new 6.5 percent national sales tax, an overhaul of Medicare in 2018, and cuts in Social Security benefits. Like the plan advanced by the president’s commission, we’ve heard objections from the right and the left, along with glum predictions that neither plan will survive the political blast furnace.
Still, Domenici’s keen political instincts haven’t dimmed in the last year, so I doubt he would invest his energies in a futile exercise.
“If you don’t dream of something like this and have the guts to expect more of people then they’re currently exhibiting, it wouldn’t be worthwhile,” he told The Daily Beast, an online newspaper.
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