Monday, November 21, 2011

Super Committee fail

With a team like this, how could they fail?
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the so-called "super committee" has failed to reach an agreement about how to proceed in addressing the budget "crisis" facing this nation. 

The committee was formed to find a grand compromise between Democrats and Republicans over how to significantly reduce the federal budget deficit though some combination of budget cuts and revenue sources.  But now, after weeks of speculation by the political punditry, committee members from both sides of the aisle are admitting that they won't be able to reach an agreement in time to meet the deadline set for it.

But, of course, the "super committee" was never a serious endeavor.

Put aside all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the supposed "death by a thousand cuts:"  the mandatory and automatic cuts to defense, education, and public housing programs scheduled for when the committee fails.  Most of those cuts don't go into effect until 2013... after next year's national election.

This highly-publicized failure is all part of the plan.  Both sides wanted it.  Both sides worked to attain it.  Both sides will use it to the hilt between now and November of next year.  (Who says bipartisanship is dead?)

Republicans will point to the failure as an indication that President Obama and the Democrats are not willing to cut entitlement programs and instead will demand tax increases.  Democrats will point to the failure as an indication that Republicans are beholden to corporations and lobbyists and care nothing at all about the hoi polloi.  And behind it all, the set-to-expire Bush tax cuts hang in the balance.

The "super committee" failure is the non-event to which both sides will point in an attempt to fire up their respective bases for the up-coming election.

Right now, I believe the Democrats have the upper hand.  The Occupy movement is still getting headlines, and may very well have contributed to the recent progressive electoral victories.  The national dialog has changed from a discussion about the debt crisis to a discussion about unemployment and income disparity.  Republicans have no ground to stand on with either of those issues.

But who knows which way the ever-shifting political winds will be blowing by next fall?

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