Tomorrow's Observer editorial:
Let’s get the blame out of the way.
There’s plenty to pass out, now that the bi-partisan congressional supercommittee meekly conceded Monday that it was unable to do its job of trimming $1.2 trillion from the deficit over 10 years. That failure has markets dipping, credit agencies stirring and citizens wondering if our lawmakers could agree at this point on the color of the White House.
Republicans will take most of the public scorn for the failure, and rightly so. Although GOP moderates signaled a late willingness to peek out of their no-tax trenches and consider some revenue possibilities, they ultimately were unwilling to propose what most Americans said they wanted – an agreement with a blend of serious spending cuts and higher taxes.
Democrats contributed to the failure, too, shamefully disregarding a last-minute path to possibilities offered by Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of
Finally, let’s not spare President Barack Obama, who characteristically chose to cluck his tongue disapprovingly at the two sides, rather than taking the political risk of leading them toward a solution.
Where does that leave lawmakers? When their arms are worn out from finger pointing, they have important and urgent work to do. Among the other items the supercommittee didn’t accomplish was extending a 2 percent payroll tax cut and continuing unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work for more than six months. Both are set to expire at the end of the year.
Neither item is popular with Republicans, but most economists agree that extending both would add a percentage point or two to economic growth next year. Given the economic instability in
There’s murmuring in
That’s what happened Monday with the supercommittee’s demise. Politics again beat progress. Ideology again trumped what was best for our country. Meanwhile, U..S. debt topped $15 trillion last week, and the problem grows frighteningly larger, as does the gap our leaders must bridge to solve it.