Congress fails again

Back in August, Congress averted a government shutdown at the last minute by kicking the can to a “Supercommittee” that was assigned to find $1.2 trillion in savings.  The incentive was a provision that if the bipartisan task force failed to do so, $1.2 trillion would automatically be cut, with half from social programs (to get the liberals to co-operate) and half from defense (to get the conservatives to co-operate).  The deadline for an agreement would be Thanksgiving.

Well, that would be this Thursday and it is evident that no agreement is likely, with the sticking points being the same ones that stymied Congress back in April:  Democrats want not only cuts but new revenue, and Republicans won’t agree to any tax increases.

But doing nothing will be just as good, given the automatic cuts that will take place (though not until 2013).  Right?  You would think so.  That was the agreement.

But now the word is that Congress will renege on that deal by adding back what would have been cut out of  social programs and national defense!

Supercommittee Expectations Wane on Tax Divide – Bloomberg.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    Oh my! I am SO not surprised it is happening like this. I am so not surprised, I can hardly stand it.

  • WebMonk

    Oh my! I am SO not surprised it is happening like this. I am so not surprised, I can hardly stand it.

  • Tom Hering

    Let’s see, we’ll give a group of politicians the task of doing something difficult and unpopular, but tell them ahead of time that if they don’t get it done, it’ll get done anyways, only their names won’t be attached to it.

  • Tom Hering

    Let’s see, we’ll give a group of politicians the task of doing something difficult and unpopular, but tell them ahead of time that if they don’t get it done, it’ll get done anyways, only their names won’t be attached to it.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 2 – That’s what historians call “statesmanship.”

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 2 – That’s what historians call “statesmanship.”

  • kerner

    Let’s review. Both the entitlement nazis and the military industrial complex will have to figure out how to do more with less. This is a crisis?

    I would think all the Ron Paul supporters (at the very least) out there would be turning cartwheels. And a lot of the rest of us with libertarian leanings might at least be willing to see how it goes.

  • kerner

    Let’s review. Both the entitlement nazis and the military industrial complex will have to figure out how to do more with less. This is a crisis?

    I would think all the Ron Paul supporters (at the very least) out there would be turning cartwheels. And a lot of the rest of us with libertarian leanings might at least be willing to see how it goes.

  • Steve Billingsley

    I’m shocked, shocked that Congress is weaseling out!

  • Steve Billingsley

    I’m shocked, shocked that Congress is weaseling out!

  • Dennis Peskey

    Just once I would appreciate being disappointed in my expectations of our government and discover they actually did what was best for our nation. Just once – but not this time, alas!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Just once I would appreciate being disappointed in my expectations of our government and discover they actually did what was best for our nation. Just once – but not this time, alas!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    First, the idea of a Super-committee runs counter to the ideals upon which this country was founded, so I view the formation of the committee as a two-fold failure – vocational failure to accomplish what we hired congress to do, and vocational failure to enact a solution in line with the ideals we hired congress to uphold. Second, that the Super-committee seems to be failing is entirely unsurprising. Its a smaller sampling of the same culture is still diseased…

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    First, the idea of a Super-committee runs counter to the ideals upon which this country was founded, so I view the formation of the committee as a two-fold failure – vocational failure to accomplish what we hired congress to do, and vocational failure to enact a solution in line with the ideals we hired congress to uphold. Second, that the Super-committee seems to be failing is entirely unsurprising. Its a smaller sampling of the same culture is still diseased…

  • DonS

    We just ticked over $15 trillion in national debt — by the time the pathetically small $1.2 trillion ( in sequestration cuts (spread over a decade — meaning we’re talking only about 2% of total budget over that decade), kick in in 2013, that debt will be over $16 trillion. That’s if Congress allows them to stand in an election year.

    Because we can’t even see fit to cut 2% now, let alone the 25% that we should be talking about, the future for our kids is very dim.

  • DonS

    We just ticked over $15 trillion in national debt — by the time the pathetically small $1.2 trillion ( in sequestration cuts (spread over a decade — meaning we’re talking only about 2% of total budget over that decade), kick in in 2013, that debt will be over $16 trillion. That’s if Congress allows them to stand in an election year.

    Because we can’t even see fit to cut 2% now, let alone the 25% that we should be talking about, the future for our kids is very dim.

  • Martin

    Actually, the supercommittee was commissioned in August, as a result of the national Debt Ceiling deadline (August 2nd, I believe).
    I’m guessing that the reference to April is the budget agreement that Congress took almost 7 months to pass which was around April 14th?
    Granted both events could have resulted in a government shutdown, but passing the April budget had nothing to do with a supercommittee.

    Oh, and by the way, Congress has not passed this year’s budget either (which started on October 1st). Wonder how many potential government shutdowns we’ll see this year before they get their acts together and pass a budget for the year we’re already in?

  • Martin

    Actually, the supercommittee was commissioned in August, as a result of the national Debt Ceiling deadline (August 2nd, I believe).
    I’m guessing that the reference to April is the budget agreement that Congress took almost 7 months to pass which was around April 14th?
    Granted both events could have resulted in a government shutdown, but passing the April budget had nothing to do with a supercommittee.

    Oh, and by the way, Congress has not passed this year’s budget either (which started on October 1st). Wonder how many potential government shutdowns we’ll see this year before they get their acts together and pass a budget for the year we’re already in?

  • Lou

    Why don’t we divorce the issues of revenue and spending and deal with each on their own terms? I cannot understand why people can’t get together, look strictly at spending and make some agreements. Surely, there are at least SOME things that both sides can agree on today.

  • Lou

    Why don’t we divorce the issues of revenue and spending and deal with each on their own terms? I cannot understand why people can’t get together, look strictly at spending and make some agreements. Surely, there are at least SOME things that both sides can agree on today.

  • WebMonk

    kerner, we would be turning cartwheels if the government weren’t already so bloated. As it is, they’re doing nothing (a good thing, generally), but things are in such a sorry state that even if they continue doing nothing (which isn’t quite nothing because they keep funding extensions in spending at essentially current levels) we’re still hosed in the long run.

  • WebMonk

    kerner, we would be turning cartwheels if the government weren’t already so bloated. As it is, they’re doing nothing (a good thing, generally), but things are in such a sorry state that even if they continue doing nothing (which isn’t quite nothing because they keep funding extensions in spending at essentially current levels) we’re still hosed in the long run.

  • WebMonk

    Lou, precious, precious few. There is a tiny, tiny sliver that all sides can agree upon, but for the other 90% of spending, it is agreed to by compromises for other spending and revenue.

    The compromises frequently take the form of “Ok, I’ll vote to let you spend/cut X if we increase/decrease revenue by Y.” That’s why you can’t just divorce them.

  • WebMonk

    Lou, precious, precious few. There is a tiny, tiny sliver that all sides can agree upon, but for the other 90% of spending, it is agreed to by compromises for other spending and revenue.

    The compromises frequently take the form of “Ok, I’ll vote to let you spend/cut X if we increase/decrease revenue by Y.” That’s why you can’t just divorce them.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Thanks, Martin, for catching the mistake. I’ll change it.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Thanks, Martin, for catching the mistake. I’ll change it.

  • Lou

    WebMonk, Then I say, let’s do the sliver for now.
    A 10% cut would keep us moving, so we could try to tackle tax reform next.

  • Lou

    WebMonk, Then I say, let’s do the sliver for now.
    A 10% cut would keep us moving, so we could try to tackle tax reform next.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X