The congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly yclept “the super committee,” announced yesterday that they have been unable to reach any agreement on deficit reduction, spending cuts, or tax increases. The finger-pointing commenced in earnest on Sunday morning’s talk shows, but one of the most perceptive analyses of the farrago came from Kentucky’s own senior senator, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
Yesterday, on the floor of the Senate, Sen. McConnell reminded his colleagues that—despite the apparent failure of the super committee to reach any agreement—“The good news is that even without an agreement, $1.2 trillion will still be cut from the deficit.”
Calling the administration's spending over the past three years, “out-of-control,” McConnell said that the 9 percent unemployment rate, coupled with the $15 trillion debt, made it necessary to create the super committee as an “extraordinary mechanism to reduce spending and make needed changes.” He suggested that Republicans viewed this as “a golden opportunity to change the direction of the nation's fiscal trajectory and create a better environment for job growth,” but that the Democrats, in rejecting two Republican proposals at compromise, demonstrated a lack of seriousness in the process.
“While Democrats insisted on a trillion-dollar tax hike and hundreds of billions of dollars in new stimulus spending,” the Senator said, “Republicans focused on pro-growth tax reform, protecting Medicare and Medicaid, and reducing Washington spending.” He suggested that if the Democrats were more concerned about the deficit than in making government bigger, they would have embraces the Republican proposals.
“In the end, an agreement proved impossible,” said McConnell, “not because Republicans were unwilling to compromise, but because Democrats would not accept any proposal that did not expand the size and scope of government or punish job creators.”
Sen. McConnell concluded with: “While we'll still reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion, much more needs to be done. And we’ll continue our efforts to reduce the size of Washington, reform and protect the entitlement system for future generations, and create a better environment for job growth.”
Of course, the whole super committee proposal was a Democratic scam from the outset. It was set up to give the appearance of spending cuts without actually having any effect until 2013; allowing the congress another year or so to increase the debt ceiling without actually doing anything to cut federal spending.
For readers who only pay attention to federal fiscal problems when their taxes go up or their 401k goes down, a little recent history needs to be remembered. Last August, the Republicans agreed to raise the debt ceiling—for the eleventh time in ten years—in return for a Democratic promise to negotiate a reduction in the deficit. As Jed Babbin suggests in his recent Spectator article: “(The) Republicans got snookered. The supercommittee was bound to fail. It presumed that Democrats would bargain in good faith and help reduce the deficit. But the Democrats had no intention of doing so. They insisted, from the beginning, in tax increases to outweigh any spending cuts.”
It looks like Newt Gingrich was right last week, when he said, "I am watching the 'super committee' in Washington with amazement. This is the dumbest idea I've seen in a very long lifetime."
Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions).
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