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Fiscal commission releases report with spending cuts and tax reforms
By Vicki Needham and Jordan Fabian - 11/10/10 01:18 PM ET

A preliminary report released by President Obama's fiscal commission on Wednesday proposed spending cuts, tax reform and dramatic changes to Social Security.

The report, approved by the panel's co-chairmen, former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), proposes capping discretionary spending, instituting tax rate reductions while broadening the tax base, gradually raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 and reducing Social Security benefits for most future retirees.

The report is the "chairmen's mark," meaning that it is a draft that has not been approved by the 18 members of the president's commission.

Simpson and Bowles say their plan would bring spending down to 22 percent and then 21 percent of U.S. GDP and reduce the deficit from 60 percent of GDP to under 40 percent by 2037.

The commission was not expected to release its report until December.

Reaction to the report has been swift and in some cases furious. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the chairmen had told "working Americans to Drop Dead." He faulted the mark's calls for changes to Social Security and Medicare.

Some Republicans gave the mark good reviews. Retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), a member of the commission, said the chairmen's proposal was "an aggressive and comprehensive plan" for reducing spending and debt. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the next chairman of the House Budget Committee, described it as provocative.

President Obama is on a trip to Asia, and the White House declined to comment on the proposal, saying it would wait for the final report.

The mark makes five basic recommendations.

• Enact tough discretionary spending caps and provide $200 billion in domestic and defense savings by 2015.

• Pass tax reform that dramatically reduces rates, simplifies the code, broadens the base and reduces the deficit.

• Address the Medicare "doc fix" not through deficit spending but through savings from payment reforms, cost-sharing, malpractice reform and long-term measures to control healthcare cost growth.

• Achieve mandatory savings from farm subsidies and military and civil service retirement.

• Ensure Social Security solvency for the next 75 years while reducing poverty among seniors.

This story was updated at 3:29 p.m. ... ort-early-