Monday, November 21, 2011

Destined to fail (UPDATE)

"There's no spending cuts here, zilch, zero, nada." ~ El Rushbo

One headline from the BBC says "Super-committee failure was not supposed to happen." I would turn that around and say, "Super-committee success was never supposed to happen!"  There was never going to be a deal, thus it was never intended to succeed.

When you give your political opponents a double-edged sword, and you leave yourself with a stick to shake at them, it's not going to fair well.  That's precisely what the Republicans did a few months back by setting up a makeshift politburo for Republicans to propose spending cuts that Democrats would never go along with, even when ready to sell out.  And why would Democrats, when they could just allow the clock to run out and automatic 'cuts' primarily hit Defense?  What did they have to lose?  Not a thing...they actually gained something. They actually diverted the debate from spending cuts to the fear of tax increases.

Then to boot, those triggered 'cuts' heading towards Defense (as well as some non-entitlement discretionary domestic spending) will never happen.  Sen. Rand Paul explains, "we're only cutting proposed increases." Paul succinctly explains, as Rush repeated this morning, due to baseline budgeting, spending would automatically go up by 23% over the next 10 years.  So even with sequestration, spending will still go up 16%!  The only thing that's been cut is the baseline by 7%...spending is still being increased!

More on baseline budgeting here.

So now the blame games begin with Republicans blaming Democrats, Democrats blaming Republicans, and a few folks actually blaming Obama.  Unfortunately, Democrats understood early on that they'd put no meaningful domestic/entitlement cuts on the chopping block, even when some Republicans were ready to sellout their principles towards compromise. Likewise, they knew Republicans would freak out over any cuts in Defense and attempt to stop them, which is what's now happening.  So in other words, everything is occurring as Democrats anticipated: absolutely no real restraints on spending will occur.  Some have even speculated that this may present Obama with an opportune line to run on as the antithesis of a due nothing Congress, particularly since he can't run on his own failed record.

Ed Morrissey of HotAir expounded on the blame game and the reasons for the super committee failure with this conclusion:

The real cause of the failure of the supercommittee was the idea that a supercommittee would act any differently than the Congress at large. Instead of using the normal process of having each chamber pass their own bills and using a conference committee to reconcile them, the debt-ceiling deal assumed that a dozen eminences grises could hand down a solution from on high that would significantly depart from the months and years of debate that had already taken place over the debt and deficit problem. The members of this committee were a part of that debate, which means they took the same issues into their chamber that everyone else had to handle outside of it.

Instead of using the proper procedure, we’ve just wasted three months in pursuit of a Deus ex machina rescue that was never going to materialize. While that’s bad news in the short run, it’s probably good news in the long run. Anyone proposing blue-ribbon supercommittees in the future will be laughed out of town – which is what should have happened the first time.

UPDATE: Here's the official 'failure' announcement.

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