Douglas Elmendorf attempts to explain.

spending on Social Security and the major health programs is projected to rise from 8.7 percent of GDP in 2007 to 12.2 percent in 2021

Republicans do not like that the Bowles-Simpson plan envisions spending at 21 percent of GDP, instead of 18.5 percent. I wish that Republicans would stare at Elmendorf’s numbers for a while, because 21 percent is looking pretty good compared with what we will face otherwise.

They also might want to take note of the fact that the Senate and the White House are in the hands of Democrats. I think that Bowles-Simpson is the best that either party can do right now. If one of them runs the table in the 2012 elections, then they can go for smaller or larger government, as the case may be.