By Erin Mershon
The nonpartisan watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense chimed into the chorus surrounding the fiscal cliff Wednesday, releasing its own solution to delay the looming sequestration cuts and tax hikes.
The plan calls for increasing revenue by at least $90 billion over two years, through a combination of capping deductions, eliminating tax breaks and increasing tax rates for higher income earners. The group also encourages initial and modest curbs on entitlement spending that “would encourage a more thoughtful approach to reform,” according to a letter addresed to the president and congressional leaders. Specific suggestions include linking Social Security benefits to average prices rather than average earnings, and shifting cost-of-living adjustments to a chained consumer price index.
The TCS plan also suggests retaining about half the sequestration cuts, both for defense and non-defense spending, though they feel the Department of Defense should be able to make its own cuts, rather than mandating across-the-board losses.
“Revenue, entitlements, discretionary spending – they’re all in there,” Ryan Alexander, president of TCS, said in a statement. “Even in the short term, the only way to move this package forward was to make everyone give on something. Then require the new Congress to come up with fundamental tax, spending, and entitlement reform. We can’t afford anything less.”
Though the group’s open letter is addressed to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, it has a few suggestions for the new Congress as well: Lawmakers must take up individual and corporate tax reform next year, starting from a zero-based approach on tax expenditures.