Republican State Senator Bill Dix will chair the Iowa branch of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles’ new nationwide “Campaign to Fix the Debt.”
Simpson is a former Republican U.S. Senator from Wyoming. Bowles is a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton. The two men co-chaired the unsuccessful National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in 2010. They are formally launching the Campaign to Fix the Debt as a “non-partisan movement to put America on a better fiscal and economic path.”
Although certain features of the Simpson-Bowles plan would be deeply unpopular, most politicians want to be seen as supporting the goal of debt reduction. O.Kay Henderson reported for Radio Iowa today that Dix agreed to chair the new Simpson-Bowles effort in Iowa.
“For a long time I’ve witnessed our representatives in Washington allow debt to just ratchet out of control and hopefully we can convince people that now is the time, even though it’s the 11th hour, we still can fix the problem,” Dix says. “We just need to get everybody at the table, sit down and recognize that it hampers job growth and opportunities and unfairly taxes our future generations.” […]
“What the voters have said is they want Republicans and Democrats alike to recognize the importance of finding a solution and getting it enacted,” Dix says, “sooner rather than later.” […]
“Let’s not lose hope,” Dix says. “We need to be mindful that our elected officials will listen. I believe that can happen and let’s just make sure that everybody takes the opportunity to make their voice heard.”
The Simpson-Bowles proposal included several tax increases affecting both wealthy and middle-income taxpayers. Dix has long been a protege of the Iowans for Tax Relief advocacy group. If he supports tax increases as a significant part of a comprehensive debt reduction package, I’ll know he is serious about the issue–as opposed to just searching for a new way to raise his political profile.
Now that Republicans led by Jerry Behn have failed to win control of the upper chamber, Dix may be well-positioned to make another leadership challenge. He is one of the legislature’s best fundraisers and gave the Iowa GOP $40,000 during 2011 alone, in addition to spreading lots of money to GOP Senate challengers in 2010. (Dix hasn’t had to file campaign disclosure reports since January 2012, because he’s not up for re-election until 2014.)
By comparison, Behn gave far less to the Iowa GOP than Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal gave to the Iowa Democratic Party. Current Senate Minority Whip Brad Zaun did very little fundraising on behalf of others in the caucus this year, even though he was unopposed in the election and represents wealthy areas in Urbandale. You can view Zaun’s financial disclosure reports here, searching for his name.
Any relevant thoughts are welcome in this thread.