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Archive for Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Super failure: Deficit-cutting panel gives in to defeat

November 22, 2011

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— Congress’ supercommittee conceded ignominious defeat Monday in its quest to conquer a government debt that stands at a staggering $15 trillion, unable to overcome deep and enduring political divisions over taxes and spending.

Stock prices plummeted at home and across debt-scarred Europe as the panel ended its brief, secretive existence without an agreement. Republicans and Democrats alike pointed fingers of blame, maneuvering for political advantage in advance of 2012 elections less than a year away.

The impasse underscored grave doubts about Washington’s political will to make tough decisions and left a cloud of uncertainty over the U.S. economy at the same time that Greece, Italy, Spain and other European countries are reeling from a spreading debt crisis and recession worries.

Lawmakers of both parties agreed action in Congress was still required, somehow, and soon.

“Despite our inability to bridge the committee’s significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation’s fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve,” the panel’s two co-chairs, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., said in a somber statement.

They added it was not possible to present “any bipartisan agreement” — omitting any reference to the goal of $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade that had been viewed as a minimum for success.

President Barack Obama — criticized by Republicans for keeping the committee at arm’s length — said refusal by the GOP to raise taxes on the wealthy was the main stumbling block to a deal. He pledged to veto any attempt by lawmakers to repeal a requirement for $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts that are to be triggered by the supercommittee’s failure to reach a compromise, unless Congress approves an alternative approach.

Those cuts are designed to fall evenly on the military and domestic government programs beginning in 2013, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as well as lawmakers in both parties have warned the impact on the Pentagon could be devastating.

“In my four decades involved with public service, I have never been more concerned about the ability of Congress to forge common-sense solutions to the nation’s pressing problems,” Panetta, a former House budget committee chairman, said in a statement. “The half-trillion dollars in additional cuts demanded by sequester would lead to a hollow force incapable of sustaining the missions it is assigned.”

In reality, though, it is unclear if any of those reductions will ever take effect, since next year’s presidential and congressional elections have the potential to alter the political landscape before then.

The brief written statement from Murray and Hensarling was immediately followed by a hail of recriminations.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Republicans had “never found the courage to ignore the tea party extremists” and “never came close to meeting us half way.”

But Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who authored a GOP offer during the talks, said, “Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues refused to agree to any meaningful deficit reduction without $1 trillion in job-crushing tax increases.”

It was unlikely the outcome would materially improve Congress’ public standing — already well below 20 percent approval in numerous polls.

And the panel’s failure left lawmakers confronting a large and controversial agenda for December, including Obama’s call to extend an expiring payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits. Democrats had wanted to add those items and more to any compromise, and lawmakers in both parties also face a struggle to stave off a threatened 27 percent cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

Comments

rockchalk1977 2 years, 5 months ago

The real problem is we have a leadership deficit. Obama had an opportunity to exceed expectations but decided to remain absent as the Supercommittee deadline approached. A majority of Independents believe Obama is more interested in campaigning against congressional Republicans to win reelection than reaching across the aisle to get things done. January 20, 2013, the end of an error.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 5 months ago

"We need to stop running deficits at all.

And, start to pay down our debts". Sez Jafs. An amazing and clear grasp of the obvious.

So where do we start? Who's ox gets gored first? Which Republican will give in and increase the taxes on the rich? Which Democrat will allow the Pentagon to quit buying $100.00 hammers and $200.00 toilet seats? Who will put his re-election chances up to do the right thing? That is the question. This childish playground squabbling is actually at the feet of the voters. If their rrepresentatives do the right thing and avoid the "my way or the highway" attitudes, the clueless voters will go and elect some other stupid and jerkwater congressman who will cowtow to their own NIMBY attitudes. As long as the American voter behaves like a clueless child and votes for these iedologues with some dumb association with non-entities like the tea bag party or whatever, we will get this assinine and idiotic squabbling like childern in a school yard. What ever happened to true representatives that understand reality and not the dumb and vapid wingnuts buying TV time to bash some congressman for his alleged mismanagement of the national business? When did the single issue cabal take over the governing of the United States.?.

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mloburgio 2 years, 5 months ago

Bush tax cut debate dooms deal to cut deficit

A long-running war between Democrats and Republicans over Bush-era tax cuts doomed the debt supercommittee's chances of reaching a deal. Efforts to overhaul the tax code may await the same fate as both parties gear up to make taxes a central issue in 2012 elections.

Extending all the Bush tax cuts, including provisions to spare millions of middle-class families from paying the alternative minimum tax, would add $3.9 trillion to the budget deficit over the next decade, according to projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The Democratic plan would add about $3.1 trillion to the deficit over the same period and make the wealthiest Americans pay about $800 billion more in taxes. http://ap.cjonline.com/pstories/us/20111122/917786117.shtml

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Gandalf 2 years, 5 months ago

Gee that came as a shock! :O/

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