The current tax-and-spending debate only flirts with what these insiders say needs to be done. Instead, top White House and congressional leaders talk privately of the need for tax reform that goes way beyond individuals and rates; much deeper Social Security and Medicare changes than currently envisioned; quick movement on trade agreements, including a proposed one with Europe; an energy policy that exploits the oil and gas boom; and allowing foreign-born students with science expertise to stay here and start businesses.
Do this and there could be not an economic recovery — but a boom, many argue.
“Both Democrats and Republicans privately agree,” Warren Buffett told us. “They just don’t want to be the first to speak out on their side.” Erskine Bowles, a Democrat who meets regularly with officials at the White House and in Congress, said lawmakers often plead to him: “Save us from ourselves.”