by Roxeanne De Luca | November 21st, 2011
The Supercommittee has deadlocked and will not be able to release a budget with the required $1.2 trillion in cuts that would avoid sequestration. (Full disclosure: two weeks ago I heard, through unnamed sources on Capitol Hill, that sequestration is unavoidable, so my cynicism is not entirely unfounded, although it will have to go without attribution.)
The Supercommittee was never designed to succeed: it was designed as a win-win for Obama. Either the Republicans stonewall on the Democrat’s tax hikes and future cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that would be implemented by someone who is not Obama, or the Committee would deadlock – and Republicans would be the do-nothing party. We would either infuriate our own base and let the Democrats paint us as Democrats-lite, or we would be smeared for not compromising.
Michael Graham quotes from Reason about the sham of the Supercommittee: as the 10-year cuts are lower than the annual deficit, the Committee could never really “succeed” in bringing federal spending in line with federal income, no more than a basketball team that is down by 30 could succeed in winning the game by executing exactly one play designed to give them exactly one lay-up.
The Cato Institute explains that the purpose of the Supercommittee was all about increasing spending, not decreasing the deficit:
Republicans are considering a surrender on taxes because they are afraid that a deadlock will lead to a sequester, which would mean automatic budget savings. And the sequester, according to these politicians, would “cut” the budget too severely.
But as the chart illustrates, that is utter nonsense.
There are only budget cuts if you use dishonest Washington budget math, which magically turns spending increases into spending cuts simply because the burden of government isn’t expanding even faster.
If we use honest math, we can see what this debate is really about. Should we raise taxes so that government spending can grow by more than $2 trillion over the next 10 years?
Or should we have a sequester so that the burden of federal spending climbs by “only” $2 trillion?
Anyone who thinks that the Supercommitttee is about anything besides assigning blame is mental. This was all about either getting the Obama agenda through and blaming Republicans for it (because the voters do not want more taxes, more spending, more government, and less restraint), or blaming Republicans for not “reducing the deficit.” The Republicans chose the lesser of two evils: refusing to “compromise” by, in the words of Mark Steyn, agreeing to head towards a cliff at 30 mph instead of 60 mph.