Nov. 21st.- The Day the Super Committee Died

In order to vote on any proposal of the Super Committee by Wed. Nov. 23rd. the proposal needs to come before the committee members by tonight at midnight.  Apparently, the Sunday shows were full of committee members and other members of Congress discussing it’s failure but more importantly pointing fingers at the other side for the inability to reach a compromise.  Do they think the American people ever believed they would reach some decision regarding the future budget of the country?  Congressional approval hovers at 9%, that should tell you all you need to know.

Here’s a little from the WaPo regarding Super Committee failure:

“If the supercommittee fails, I think there will be a stark realization by every member of the U.S. Senate that we’re at the end of the year and these complex challenges have not been dealt with,” Sessions said. “It’s likely to be a really difficult period.”

The policy battle comes as the parties are gearing up for a high-stakes election season dominated by economic concerns, with both the White House and Congress in play. The political pressure that has helped keep the 12-member supercommittee from compromising on hot-button issues such as taxes is sure to grow more intense.

If the supercommittee does not finish on time, it would lose special procedural powers to push a tax-and-spending plan through a bitterly divided House and Senate, leaving congressional leaders without an easy path to compromise on the expiring provisions — and a potentially nasty holiday-season fight on their hands.
“We don’t have the answers,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, conceded recently as it became evident that the panel’s effort had stalled. “The supercommittee was put in place” to develop “a strategy to take us through the election” by resolving the toughest outstanding budget problems, he said. “If they don’t succeed, then we have to address these issues.”

David Dayen suggests burial for the super committee.

This does raise a set of key issues going forward as we reach the end of the year, however. The Super Committee is a dead letter. They are exceedingly likely not to recommend anything at all. Jon Kyl talked about the committee in the past tense on the morning shows today. It’s all over except for the finger-pointing, which will be as meaningless as it is intense.

But there are all these loose ends out there, and all of them would actually increase the deficit, just to show you what a joke fiscal responsibility has always been. First, there are the aforementioned payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits extension. Those expire at the end of the year. So do two other notable measures: the patch that avoids a cut to Medicare reimbursement for providers by over 20%, colloquially known as the “doc fix,” and the adjustment to the alternative minimum tax that helps the upper middle class avoid the additional levy. Then there are a host of other expiring tax breaks, many for businesses, that usually get lumped in and called “tax extenders.” The thumbnail cost for extending every single one of the above-mentioned items is $300 billion. By the same token, that’s the amount you would take out of the economy if you failed to extend any of these measures. And that would, as noted above, be a significant fiscal drag on the economy.

Bits & Pieces – Columbus Day Open Thread

Gov. Jerry Brown of CA has signed California’s own version of the Dream Act. It’s odd to compare this with what they’re doing in Alabama. I saw a photo of a sign in front of a local water department in AL over the weekend that said you could no longer have an account with the city for water without a picture ID.

Declaring the need to expand educational opportunity, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he has signed legislation making illegal immigrants eligible to receive state financial aid to attend California universities and community colleges.

Brown said he signed the California Dream Act because it makes sense to allow high-achieving students access to college financial aid.

“Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said in a statement. “The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.”


I’ve been reading lots of negatives regarding the possibility of the Super Committee actually accomplishing much. Considering Obama’s Jobs Bill appears dead in the water and the Super Committee has pretty low expectations along with the debt ceiling battle, these guys are beginning to get a little worried.

This is from Gates, the other two are Bernanke and Geithner.

“I do believe that we are now in uncharted waters when it comes to the dysfunction in our political system–and it is no longer a joking matter,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told an audience two weeks ago at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where he received the Liberty Medal for national service. “It appears that as a result of several long-building, polarizing trends in American politics and culture, we have lost the ability to execute even the basic functions of government much less solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing the country. Thus, I am more concerned than I have ever been about the state of American governance.”


And I couldn’t resist another OWS link

As Gregory Djerejian writes, this was inevitable. A seemingly endless recession sparked by a financial meltdown was bound to create a backlash, one way or another. The President famously said in a meeting with 13 Bankers that he was the only thing standing between them and the pitchforks. He cannot hold them back any longer. Djerejian sums up the national mood:

“Speaking to several of these protesters today, I met MBA students who cannot find jobs (one even told me his GPA at business school, a respectable 3.2) and law students in a similar predicament. As money gets wasted in epic fashion overseas for desperately flawed ‘provincial reconstruction teams’ in Iraq and risible ‘Government-in-a-Box’ initiatives in Afghanistan, these kids are staring at mountains of debt and an equally daunting lack of viable employment prospects (the MBA student was underemployed working as a barista at Starbucks). So there are intelligent faces and voices in these crowds—not just aimless rabble-rousers out for a rise—and I can sense this movement becoming more contagious (for instance, I detected among several of the more junior police officers perhaps some degree of sympathy for the protesters). To some extent, after all, these are our young screaming out in need, meriting not kettling and reprimands, but job prospects and dignity […] They want accountability and dignity and prospects. Their leaders have failed them. So they have taken to the street to lead themselves.”

Former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter actually had some good thoughts as well. Whether the Democrats can get fuel from this movement or whether they become terrified of it, what is happening around the country is ultimately a statement of hope from a disaffected group of people who want to build something and will not let the constraints of politics or big money get in the way.


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