The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, otherwise known in pop-culture circles as the “Super committee” may be spinning its wheels for naught the next few weeks leading up to its Thanksgiving deadline. Few, on or off Capitol Hill, really believe it will come up with at plan to reduce the nation’s deficit. Thanks to Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist, whom Democrats are now painting as Washington’s very own life-size version of Megamind, most (if not all) Republicans on the committee have signed his America for Tax Reform’s pledge to not raise taxes while
So have most other Republicans in Congress.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that every single GOP member rejected the Democrats’ latest proposal for cuts that would lead to a $4 trillion deficit reduction – but not without a promise to raise revenue via tax hikes. No dice, no dice. ‘Cause Grover said so.
People with long memories may be wondering where all this obsession over the debt and deficit came from. After all, the United States has been in debt for centuries and had a budget deficit for decades – through more than several administrations. The conservative hero Ronald Reagan himself raised the debt ceiling 18 times during his eight years in office and George W. Bush 7 times.
But never mind back then. Today, under this president, they’ve had enough of the deficit apparently. The short answer is that Republicans are wizards at controlling the debate. Just this weekend, a Google Plus buddy objected to my 7 Deadly Words in Politics post including the words Obamacare, spending, taxes, stimulus, amnesty, cuts and outsource, all which he felt were based on GOP talking points.
The fact remains that Republicans have successfully framed the debate and thrust their issues and concerns to the top of the political agenda. Democrats have been solidly
reactionary and on the defense, to date unable to convince the country that their priorities should dominate.
We are where we are – two weeks away from another stonewall. Congress put in place a mechanism whereby if the Super committee was unable to mold an agreement, an automatic “trigger” would kick in. The domestic and military cuts would reduce the deficit by $1.4 trillion. Because no one on either side really likes this option, it is likely Congress will override its own rules (or “change the game” as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) put it in an interview with Politic365), provide extensions or delay the inevitable. We shall end the year, yet again, fighting another debt and deficit battle.
In politics, Ground Hogs Day is every day.