A federal panel!

With great fanfare, President Obama on Thursday announced the creation of a bipartisan "debt-reduction" commission charged with recommending how to get the nation off the road to financial ruin.

What is it about governments and blue-ribbon panels?

The two leaders of the commission will be former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, a Republican, and former North Carolina Sen. Erskine Bowles, a Democrat.

"Everything is on the table," Mr. Bowles promised.

The 18-member panel -- 10 Democrats and eight Republicans -- will make nonbinding (surprise!) recommendations to Congress by December on how to balance the federal budget (not counting interest on the debt) by 2015.

You can count on a bevy of proposals involving higher taxes.

Supporters of the panel say it will provide cover for Congress to finally tackle the important fiscal issues that threaten the nation's future.

Right. And the cow jumped over the moon.