The Hill reports on "supercommittee"
by Linda Beale
The Hill reports on “supercommittee
Alexander Bolton reports that “With Supercommittee Deadlocked, leaders Reid and Boehner meet“, The Hill (Nov. 15, 2011). Reid (Dem) and Boehner (GOP) met Tuesday, but aides told The Hill that “They’re not about to dive in” to the negotiations. But as the committee seems to be at an impasse close to the 11/23 deadline, the leaders must be discussing what is likely to be the next step. The arrangements for the group (in case no bipartisan deal could be reached) called for across-the-board cuts that impose reasonable cuts on Defense but limited cuts for social safety net/earned benefit programs (medicare limited to 2% cuts to insurance companies and health care providers/Social Security and Medicaid exempt).
The GOP members, of course, are casting it as a Dem problem. For example, Hensarling (a very far right member of the group, from Texas) blamed the Dems for not accepting the Toomey proposal for a piddling $300 billion in new tax revenue. With Supercommittee Deadlocked, leaders Reid and Boehner meet.
The across-the-board cuts would cut Defense by $500 billion. Various GOP members of Congress have said they want to change the deal to avoid the cuts to the military. Tea Party favorite and radical right-winger Jim DeMint has essentially admitted that he never intended to stick with the sequester deal, saying that the GOP has “until next election to fix this thing.” GOP stalwarts want the US to maintain its exorbitant spending as “the world’s only military superpower” even while being willing to cut health care and pensions to the vulnerable and even while the country’s infrastructure–essential for business–crumbles in ruins. McCain and Graham urged the Senate to reject the sequester of military funds, fearful it would “set off a swift decline of the United States as the world’s leading military power.” Dems gain upper hand in deficit talks, The Hill (Nov. 16, 2011). This attitude seems to believe that defense spending, no matter what the cost to the country, is okay, while spending on poor people is a waste and raising taxes on the rich is an impossibility. Apparently GOP McKeon considered that possibility, but then later backtracked. Certainly, Grover Norquist has been making sure the pressure is on from the corporate masters of our pseudo-democracy–the Hill notes Norquist’s statement Monday that both Senate and House GOP leaders had “assured him they would not raise taxes to reduce the deficit.” Id.
So we have elected representatives in Congress who willfully ignore the will of the majority of people in favor of higher taxes and higher taxes on the rich and corporations in particular; ignore the facts that show that higher taxes on the rich and a more equal economy are better for everybody; and ignore the fact that their own policies (preemptive war and tax cuts during deficits from 2001-2008 under Bush) represent the substantial reason for long-term deficits–all in order to continue to support extraordinarily disproportionate spending on the military rather than on public infrastructure, education and health and in order to be able to continue to use the self-created “debt crisis” to push for further impoverization of America’s middle class. What a backwards value system that represents can’t be expressed in a public blog.
But at least Reid has said that method of reneging on the agreement won’t be allowed to happen: “Democrats aren’t going to take an unfair, unrealistic load directed toward domestic discretionary spending and take it away from the military.” See Id.; see also Reid: Dems will oppose efforts to spare Defense from automatic cuts, The Hil (Nov. 14, 2011).
As one of the commenters on The Hill notes (quoting an NPR program), the supercommittee is set up to force one of two bad choices–reducing the social safety net or cutbacks during economic recession. What we should be doing is increasing taxes now on the rich and on corporations, and then allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of next year–in their entirety. We should make judicious spending cuts in wasteful programs–and the military certainly should be a target of some of those cuts. And we should make judicious spending increases in infrastructure, research and educational support programs to add stimulus to keep the economy going.
Case in point–the New York Times story today about a small town in Kentucky that decided to increase taxes to pay for infrastructure improvements that are putting the two back on the map.
originally published at ataxingmatter
I hope someone is paying attention. Though it may be hard to see at times, I essentially agree with you.
But maybe one difference:
I don’t see much point right now to cutting “wasteful” spending at all. My idea of wasteful might easily be your idea of essential. And the Deficit was not caused by wasteful spending. it was caused by not collecting enough taxes to pay for what was bought.
We need to raise taxes… on everyone, but progressively… until “the deficit” is no longer a political factor. I do not think this will hurt the economy. The government can spend money better than “the rich” can… at least under present circumstances.
Well, maybe not the present government. Politicians have always been liars… it’s what they do… but I don’t think I have seen such complete and total insanity before.
by progressive i mean:
a “temporary patriotic deficit emergency surtax” of 3% on incomes over 100 k, 10% over 500 k.
raise the Medicare tax about 3% to pay for ALL Medicare (i.e. take it “off budget”) pay as you go.
raise the SS payroll tax one full percent for each the employee and the employer.
that oughta do it.
the SS tax only needs to be raised half a tenth of a percent per year, but that 2% combined right now would make SS “solvent” for the next 75 years and maybe by then Peterson will have given up or run out of money to finance “we’re all going to die because SS is running out of phony iou’s” headlines. it would, of course, give congress lots and lots of money to play with, but we know they will handle that responsibly.
and while normally i’d favor capping a Medicare payroll tax, i think i’d leave it uncapped for now “in fairness” and to create a constituency for working on lowering medical costs. the virtue of taking it out of the general budget entirely would be to give the workers a right to say “i paid for it.”
and the 10% deficit emergency patriotic surtax would be to give the very rich an incentive to declare the deficit emergency over.
and note that when yo “pay down the deficit” you are giving the rich their money back.
why it’s as if, as if… as if uncle sam was taxing you with his right hand and giving you cash with his left.
what is there to complain about?
“blamed the Dems for not accepting the Toomey proposal for a piddling $300 billion in new tax revenue.”
Linda, you know that is A LIE, why do you not call it one?
The Toomey proposal is for a $3,400 billion decrease in tax revenues: $300B in “loophole closings” and $3,700B in tax rate reductions for the 0.5 of 1%.
It’s one thing for an idiot journalist to repeat the lie that Toomey “produces new tax revenues”; it’s quite another for a tax specialist to allow it to be printed under her own byline.
Just to be clear about how deficit math works, a deficit is the difference between spending and revenue. It is never the case that a difference can exist merely because of the minuend or merely because of the subtrahand. It is unquestionably the result of the interaction of the two. To say otherwise is to substitute politcal speech for math.
and in case that wasn’t clear (it took me a few readings) what i think kharris is saying is that
“the deficit” can be fixed by either raising taxes (the minuend) or cutting spending (the subtrahend).
The R’s seem convinced that you have to cut spending… except on the military. Raising taxes is a concept that simply does not exist in their religion. In fact they seem pretty well convinced that after cutting spending you get to cut taxes. You know… to grow the economy. Because it worked so well before.
And one-armed economists have been teaching this religion in schools for so long no “serious” person doubts it.
does anyone really believe that the supercommittee can still pass something, have it scored by the CBO and have it back to them by monday so they have the 48 hours required by the budget control act to review it before voting on it?
i think the supercommittee is already moot…& from what ive read here, i’d bet the repugs will try to repeal the whole thing to avoid having the sequestered $600 billion cuts to defense kick in…
The war profiteering scam accounts for 7800 billion dollars in largely waste and fraud over the ten years considered by the “super committee”.
Cutting $1000 billion of $7800 billion is just sweeping up the chips which slip through the crooks’ fingers.
That 12% cut is on the 41% inflation adjusted war spending explosion which increased since the neocons began the wars on credit.
Been slowly reading through Paul Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” when I am in town or on a plane longer then 1 hour.
“Great Power ascendancy (over the long term or in specific conflicts) correlates strongly to available resources and economic durability; miltary overstretch and a concomitant relative decline are the consistent threat facing powers whose ambitions and security requirements are greater than their resource base can provide for (summarized on pages 438–9).”
We have over committed to our military in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the Homeland Security which is little more than a domestic 1984 Big Brother watching over you for your own good. We no long having the resources to commit to such a monetary extension of military might and it is time to make the necessary cuts. Or we can cast ourselves backwards domestically . . .
One thing I don’t see mentioned in any recent reports is Obama’s veto threat if Congress passes a bill to undo the sequester requirement.
Or has that threat been walked back already?
we could hope.
the whole deal was so brain damaged it would be best if they just forgot about it.
I guess I’m in the “injudicious spending” camp. We have a $2 trillion infrastructure deficit. No prospect of a good employment scenario for three years (aka as far as the eye can see) and three percent long term interest rates. Is there a logical reason for going slow on infrastructure investment other than an Obamaesque instinct for moderation for the sake of moderation?
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