Super Committee on Debt Reduction Doomed to Fail

CNN Money reported that 9 of the 12 member super committee for debt reduction have been appointed and all 6 of the Republicans. Only 3 Democrats remain. I’m not very optimistic that the committee will come to any agreement since all 6 of the Republicans on the super committee have signed Grover Norquist’s no-tax pledge. Clearly, the Republicans are not interested in compromising, as it is certain that any deal would have to include some revenue enhancements. 3 of the members – 2 Republicans and 1 of the 3 Democrats who served on the 18 member Simpson-Bowles Presidential Commission on debt reduction voted against the plan crafted at the end of 2010. It didn’t even get enough support on the panel to reach Congress for a vote.

Why the President thinks the super committee will achieve a compromise is puzzling, except that the threat of trigger points may incentivize them to do so. That is, if they fail, there will be across the board cuts to defense and non-defense spending; defense spending is something Republicans would likely try to protect since it greatly benefits corporations, and brings money to their states who may have bases and factories that make weapons we do not need.  A compromise with no revenue enhancements would be a horrible deal. I’d rather have across the board cuts go into place.

Republicans insist that Americans do not want higher taxes. Well, of course, nobody is for higher taxes, but most Americans, the majority in polling, understand that the only way we can responsibly reduce the deficit is to cut spending and raise taxes. But on who? For starters, on corporations who are bursting with profits. And on billionaires (those so called job creators) who feel entitled not to pay their fair share. Any serious discussion should include the reform of the tax code to make it more efficient and just, including closing those gaping loopholes that allow the savvy to shelter earnings abroad, and encourages them to shift business operations overseas.

I think the only way the committee will have any chance of success would be for the Republican members to renounce their no-tax pledge. If they think the Democrats are going to agree to a plan that does not include revenue enhancements, they are delusional. Like Simpson-Bowles, I am afraid this super committee is doomed to fail.

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