This year Barack Obama, US president, appointed a bipartisan commission to look into ways of curbing public borrowing. Last week, speaking for themselves rather than for the panel as a whole, its chairmen – Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, and Alan Simpson, a Republican – published a series of options and recommendations. Their work was attacked by progressives and conservatives alike. Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats’ leader in the House of Representatives, dismissed it out of hand: “Simply unacceptable”, she said.
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