January 3rd, 2013
06:23 PM ET
1 year ago

Bowles: End the fiscal brinksmanship

(CNN) - Erskine Bowles, former co-chairman of President Barack Obama's deficit reduction commission and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, said Thursday he isn't seeking a major job in the Obama administration. He also characterized the debt reduction deal reached this week as "a step in the right direction" but acknowledged that the deal, and failure to enact his commission's recommendations, was a "missed opportunity."

Bowles said on CNN's "The Situation Room" that he is not interested in an appointment as Treasury Secretary. Secretary Tim Geithner has indicated he will step down in the near future, and it is thought that White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew is his most likely successor.

"Look, I'm 67 years old. I've been gone from home for over a dozen years doing various public service things, and I've come home and I've got nine grandchildren under seven and I really want to stay home," he said. "So I don't want a full time job either in the public or the private sector."

Bowles said he saw the fiscal cliff as presenting a "magic moment where we had a chance for our generation to do something big to put our fiscal house in order and we absolutely blew it."

"I would have voted for it" nonetheless, he said. "I think going over the cliff would have been an economic disaster for the country - it was too much too quick."

As the Congress approaches future fiscal deadlines - including over the sequestration, a measure to fund the government, and the debt ceiling - Washington leaders should be more proactive.

"For God's sake, I wouldn't wait until the last minute," he said. "We've had enough of this brinksmanship, this moving from crisis to crisis. That is a foolish way for any organization - small or large, much less the U.S. government, the largest economy in the world - to run its organization."


Filed under: Erskine Bowles
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Evergreen

    We can only hope that Congress will hear these words and work together for the common good. For the future of this country, focus on JOBS not the mythical "job creators."

    January 3, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  2. bdishman

    You're exactly right Erskine, but try telling that to this bunch!

    January 3, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. Common Sense

    I wish congress had this mans common sense. It is complete senselessness and completely irresponsible for congress to keep jumping from crisis to crisis playing this, my way or the high game to score political points. They need to finally do what they have been elected to do, and that is govern in the best interest of this country, instead of catering to those who going to give them the most money to found their party. Show so backbone for once in their life and stop being afraid of a challenge or those who dont agree with the reality of what must be done to save this greet nation.

    January 3, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. CBP

    The bill passed by Congress has other provisions in it for tax breaks. Ideally, the bill should have made reference to the end of the Bush tax cuts by increasing the amount of taxes paid by those who ear over 450,000, Bet those other provisions in the bill made the GOP more wiling to vote yes.

    Hopefully the new Congress will look at all expenditures and will make changes in the tax laws. There are still some people and businesses who do not pay anything for one reason or another. Of course, some businesses receive tax cuts within states just to keep the businesses there. Republicans and Democrats do this so no one really wants to complain.

    January 3, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    If you do not contribute to SS, if you are not USA citizen that took citizenship after 1998 do not pay SS. These India guys are cheating in SS and Medicare. Tighten immigration. Reduce the number of immigrations be they doctors or IT. Period.

    January 3, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There should have been some kind coversation during the election no matter who won the election. This just shows that there are problems talking to each other about the problems of the country.

    January 3, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |