Factbox: Panel's draft deficit-reduction proposals

(Reuters) - A presidential commission tasked with balancing the budget likely will fail to secure enough support on Wednesday to trigger a congressional vote on its deficit-cutting plan, aides and analysts say.

The commission’s co-chairmen have released a draft proposal that would reduce spending and benefits and overhaul the tax code to reduce the deficit to 2.2 percent of GDP by 2015, a level many economists consider sustainable, but they are still scrambling to nail down support among other commission members.

Following is a summary of the proposal put forward by the commission’s co-chairmen, former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Democratic White House official Erskine Bowles:


- Would reduce discretionary spending (programs like defense and law enforcement that are set by Congress each year) in fiscal 2012 to 2010 levels; impose 1 percent cuts in each of the next three fiscal years

- In 2015, defense spending would be $100 billion lower and nondefense spending also $100 billion lower than envisioned in the White House’s current budget scenario

- Eventually bring government spending down to 21 percent of gross domestic product, from its current level of 24 percent of the economy

- Automatic cuts would take effect at the end of each year if Congress exceeds spending caps

- Set up bipartisan committee to eliminate outdated and inefficient programs

- Stretch out budget cycle over two years

- Sample cuts include: freeze pay for federal workers; reduce overseas military bases by one-third; cut federal workforce by 10 percent; slow growth of foreign aid


- Would eliminate all of the $1.1 trillion exemptions in the tax code, such as the mortgage-interest deduction and the earned-income tax credit

- Lower and simplify individual income tax rates: 8 percent for those with annual incomes below $70,000; 14 percent for those with incomes up to $210,000; and 23 percent for incomes above that level

- Lower corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 26 percent

- Treat dividends and capital gains as ordinary income

- Set aside $80 billion for deficit reduction

- Gradually raise gas tax by 15 cents starting in 2013 to pay for transportation spending

- Abolish the alternative minimum tax


- Would pay doctors and other providers less for seeing patients under government programs like Medicare and Medicaid

- Cap damages in malpractice suits

- Require Medicare participants to pay more costs themselves

- Require lower costs for brand-name drugs covered by government programs

- Expand successful cost-containment programs

- Strengthen independent oversight board

- If costs grow more than 1 percent faster than the economy after 2020, require president to propose further cost cuts or a robust public health insurance option


- Would reduce farm subsidies by $3 billion per year

- Revamp consumer price index, used to calculate benefit increases, to better reflect actual rate of inflation

- Increase employee contributions to government retirement programs

- Postpone military retirement programs and make them take effect after age 60


- Would revamp the retirement program to ensure its long-term stability, but separately from the deficit reduction effort

- Add minimum benefits for poorest retirees

- Increase benefits for older retirees

- Require more affluent earners to pay more

- Raise the retirement age to 68 in 2050 and 69 in 2075

- Exempt those who work physically demanding jobs; allow them to retire at 62

Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Stacey Joyce