Monday, November 21, 2011


Not a moment too soon:
Capitol Hill sources say that barring a highly unexpected, last minute development, Super Committee co-chairs Jeb Hensarling and Patty Murray will issue a statement on Monday acknowledging the panel’s failure.
The development comes one day before the panel’s drop dead date to submit a plan, and three days before the debt limit law requires them to report legislation to the full Congress. Failure will lock into place deep, across the board cuts to defense and security programs, a two percent cut to Medicare providers, and cuts to other domestic programs. Those spending reductions will kick in on January 1, 2013, unless Congress acts to change the law, or passes more targeted budget cuts and thus agrees to eliminate the automatic penalty.

Those cuts, along with the looming expiration of the Bush tax cuts, promise to be major flashpoints for the 2012 campaign, and lock in a tough legislative food fight over cutting spending and raising taxes.
Putting aside the hilariousness of releasing a statement of failure, it's great news that this dangerous waste of time is coming to an end. The infighting of an austerity commission in the middle of a horrific economic downturn should make for a nice "fiddling while Rome burns" moment for future historians to highlight when explaining our downfall.

Prediction: In the next few years, there will be a new austerity commission, which will be cheered by all the important people for trying to tackle the important issues of our time: cutting social security and medicare.

As Ari Berman brilliantly described, these things don't happen out of thin air, and the same group of people trying to cut social security will be at it again on with new excuses in a few years time.

And if you want your mind to truly be blown, think about the people that probably saved us from a Democratic president signing cuts to medicare and social security into law:
  • Grover Norquist, whose idiotic no tax pledge prevents Republicans from signing onto a deal even if it is wildly in their favor
  • Eric Cantor, for going nuclear on the initial round of "grand bargain negotiations" and leaking his notes to the press.
My head hurts.

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