John Merline at highlights six interesting points raised in the recent deficit commission report. I recommend you read his entire piece, but here’s the list without his comments: 

1)      The federal government is horribly managed.

2)      Health reform’s cost savings apparently were bogus.

3)      Millions of workers don’t pay into Social Security.

4)      The tax code is a hopeless, loophole-riddled mess.

5)      Obama is a big spender.

6)      It’s actually not that hard to cut the deficit.

And here are my quick reactions to each:

1)      Duh.

2)      Repeal!

3)      This one was a surprise. Apparently, a few states and localities are exempted from Social Security and instead run their own retirement programs. I take this as only further evidence that these one-size-fits-all federal legislative monstrosities don’t work and need to be avoided. Social Security, specifically, needs major reform. Unfortunately, (a) most Americans—including, sadly, many in the Tea Party—don’t want to reform it, and (b) we don’t have many politicians with the courage to tackle that type of reform anyway. Both these need to change. Fast.

4)      Fair (or flat) tax.

5)      2012.

6)      This was really interesting. Merline wrote

The report talks loudly about the “painful” choices ahead and how there’s “no easy way out.” But what the report really shows is that a comprehensive package of relatively modest and reasonable policy changes can bring deficits under control.

If that’s true, there’s no excuse to continue down the path of destructive deficits. Unfortunately, when I read statements like this

A program of extended benefits for the long-term unemployed, which lapsed last month, would be revived for 13 months, the White House said. The jobless benefits would be financed by federal borrowing rather than by spending cuts.

…I don’t have much hope that Washington gets it yet. At least, not the people still running out their final days before the new Congress takes over in 2011. We’ll see if they’re a little more realistic and adult about taking the challenges we face seriously.