Monday, November 21, 2011

Politics beats progress as debt committee fails

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 Pennsylvania. Toomey proposed raising $250 billion over the decade by reducing many itemized deductions and adjusting tax rates so that tax increases would fall on the top two brackets. The $250 billion was barely a start, but it was certainly a breakthrough for the conservative side of the supercommittee. Democrats, apparently confident they will win the PR battle that comes with failure, ignored it.

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 Europe, that percentage point or two could be what prevents us from another recession next year, some economists warn.

There’s murmuring in Washington that Republicans might hold the payroll tax and unemployment extensions hostage by linking them to a bill that would exempt defense from the $1.2 trillion in cuts that are automatically triggered by the supercommittee’s failure. That would be a mistake. Although that $1.2 trillion “sequester” is an indiscriminate chop that doesn’t address our underlying entitlement and tax rate problems, the cuts are at least an acknowledgment of the pain that will only worsen if we run away.

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.


annnort said...

Why would the republicans take most of the scorn? If you had paid attention, you would see that most of the scorn in this country is for the dems who spend, spend, spend and never stop as long as it is other people's money.

Obama will take the scorn. He did not listen to the Simpson-Bowles committee. He set this last committee up to fail.

larrydpowell said...

what looks like failure now may be the best thing to happen. SS Medicare and some other social program will remain intact.

we will have to choose war or weapons?

it has also shown that the 1% has a party...republicans.

and republicans would end Medicare & SS as we know it with vouchers.programs that need simple fix like removing the caps on both programs.

and the current cast of clowns offer nothing... Mitt thinks veteran should get vouchers... Perry thinks the middle class are not paying enough taxes...
Cane thinks he can veto the supreme court.Newt wants to do away with child labor laws.Paul would have us carrying around gold bars.
Rickey can only tell us how great he was as a senator.
and the crazy lady well i think that says it..huntsman can only say we need leadership that takes care off the 1%...

there is 40 years of blame on both parties for our current problems. trickle down econ.has failed us and one party wants to make it the law of the land forever.

Simpbowl was going nowhere it had tax increases for the 1% Grover said no.

will obama get the blame maybe?
but if the country wants more of the last 40 years they should vote republican...
if not maybe they should at least listen to what the occupy movement is saying?

your choice 99% or 1% there is no in between...

Stick - Zar dei colli rossi said...

"It's the spending stupid"

We have a spending problem; not a tax problem.

If you do the math, taking ALL the money from the "1%" will not run the government for two months.

The problem is that politicians have too much power to take from the productive and give to the non-productive until we have reached a point that 47% pay nothing.

Think they care how much taxes go up?

Anonymous said...

"Republicans will take most of the public scorn for the failure, and rightly so. "

"Democrats contributed to the failure, too, shamefully disregarding a last-minute path to possibilities offered by Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania. "

So the "O-pinion" starts off blaming the Republicans right away then concedes it was the "Democrats who shamefully disregard a last minute path to compromise"?

Republicans and Democrats each represent half of the country on average.....but now we are stuck in a vortex of "how can anybody be right if everybody is wrong?" Look at the boards on this online paper.....the "left" posters foam at the mouth to point out the stupidity of the "right" posters for not agreeing with them, and vice-versa.

We are indeed a divided nation. Obamas class warfare rhetoric is working. The object is no longer progress but to point out how wrong the other guy is.

The future of this country, as it seems to be headed can be seen laying in wait across the Atlantic. I for one do not call that progress but it sure makes the socialists communists and Marxist do their little jig dances.

This nation became the greatest nation on the planet based on a capitalistic economy...why on earth some people want to change that, and emulate the current European role model is baffling.

Fundamental Transformation indeed, just look at Greece.

Look where we are as a nation: at the edge of determining what our next form of government will be.

"If you want America to be like Europe of the last 40 years vote Democrat"

larrydpowell said...

Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania. "
offer was more BS than anything else... more for the 1% off the backs of middle class & poor... nothing more than that! He is the 1%....
keep walking nothing to see here...

JimB said...

Time to Clean House

I’ve always leaned to the right politically. Like most Americans I try to keep up with the issues and the candidates but there is so much information we are not privy to and so much grand standing by our elected officials it is hard to know what to believe. As a result, I generally vote along party lines assuming that since I am a Republican the Republican candidate has my best interests in mind. Sound familiar? It can work the same way if you are left leaning. What a mess we have made. As a result we have created a system where nothing gets done because compromise doesn’t exist. For a Democrat to compromise on spending or a Republican to compromise on taxes gets them labeled not a True Republican or not a True Democrat. Both parties have been hijacked by the extreme elements. Just take a look at the most recent failure; The Super Committee. Even in the face of massive deficits and looming cuts to the defense budget, no one would compromise.
I like everyone else, want everything. I want the best military, I want to pay less taxes, I want social programs that help people when they are down, and so on and so on. I always want a larger house, faster car, better wardrobe, and reservations at the hottest restaurants. Alas I can’t afford it, just like our country can’t afford everything. Yet still, in the face of this massive deficit, our leaders are still unable to compromise, unable to work together, unable to look past partisan politics. So I say we fire them all. That is right every one of them. Clearly they are not looking out for our best interests; they are not looking out for the welfare of our nation. They want one thing and one thing only, to be reelected. They have not done their job well enough to deserve to keep it. Their approval rating is evidence of that.
It is time we acted. Let us do what the politicians have been unable to do, let’s throw political party out the window in the voting booth. Don’t vote for a single incumbent in the national elections. Not for President, not for Senate, not for Congress. Fire them all. This will send the message that Americans are tired of partisan politics. We are tired of elected officials unwilling to compromise and work together. We are tired of our political parties being hijacked by the extremist elements. We want a middle ground and a little common sense. Anyone can see that America has a spending problem, we spend more money than we take in, and we’ve been doing it for so long that we have rung up some pretty big debts. There is only one way to solve the problem, spend less and make more. I’m not going to pretend to know where to make cuts or how to generate more income. That is the job of elected officials. But the bottom line is this; we need to get the balance back in green. We accomplished that not too long ago with a Democrat in the White House and a Republican Congress. It is not an impossible task. But we as citizens of this nation must send a loud and clear message that we are fed up, we want results. So let’s fire them all. Vote for anyone but the incumbent this election and see if we don’t send a message strong enough to get some actual work done in Washington.