In early 2010 amid growing concern about the federal deficit, President Barack Obama appointed a bipartisan group of Washington economic and political leaders to devise a way to get the country's spending under control.
Erskine Bowles, chief of staff under Democratic President Bill Clinton, and Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, were named to head the effort. The panel's efforts henceforth were known as Bowles-Simpson, although some on the Republican side of the aisle flipped the names.
Ten months after formation, the chairmen released a draft and then their full, but unratified, report. The reason for the lack of enthusiasm: The Bowles-Simpson plan called for the elimination of popular, but costly, tax deductions, exemptions or credits for specific categories of taxpayers.
Bowles-Simpson argued that by getting rid of such things as the mortgage and charitable donation deductions, the current six income brackets and tax rates could be reduced to just three: 8 percent, 14 percent and 23 percent.
The plan was revived during the recent House budget debate, but was again rejected. Still, some of the Bowles-Simpson ideas might eventually show up in future legislation.