With a midnight deadline looming on Monday, the 'Supercommittee' is at an impasse and we run the risk of the automatic cuts taking effect if a deal cannot be struck. For the next couple of days, we'll be treated to the theatrics of the political class 'laboring' on our behalf to desperately come up with solutions.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), one of the six Democrats leaders on the committee has already tipped us off on how it all ends when he said the automatic cuts known as sequestration would not be a failure.
"[But] sequestration is a way to get us back on track,” he said. “Sequestration will give us progress whether we like it or not. I'd rather have a human hand fashioning the progress than, as I've said before, the blunt edge of a guillotine deciding what progress looks like. [But] any time you can get $1.2 trillion in savings, that's not failure.”
Of course, with the savings consisting of at least $500 billion in cuts to national security spending, while entitlement benefits are protected, is it any wonder that the Democrats are fine with no deal being struck?
Meanwhile, another Democrat on the committee, Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), denounced the latest GOP offer, which he described as containing $600 billion in program cuts with “only $3 billion in revenue.”
“Do we look stupid?” he said after leaving a meeting with Democratic members of the panel. “I mean, I don’t know, maybe we do. I certainly am not stupid.”
I submit that both the Republicans and Democrats think the American people are stupid and I fear that we are doing everything possible to prove them right.
This whole 'Supercommittee' stunk from day one. The idea that this group of 6 members of each party would come together and reach an accord on how to achieve $1.2 Trillion in savings was a farce from the very beginning.
Here's a clue on how that was going to work out;
a) the Democrats will propose raising taxes and the Republicans will balk,
b) the Republicans will propose spending cuts and the Democrats will balk.
Is this starting to remind anyone of the movie 'Groundhog Day'?
And to further insult our intelligence, the GOP managed to include a vote on a balanced budget amendment in the deal that created the supercommittee. Well, the vote just took place and surprise, surprise, it fell well short of the 290 votes needed.
Speaker Boehner watered down the proposed amendment in an attempt to 'appeal to Democrats' by not including any spending limits and allowing a simple majority to raise taxes to balance the budget instead of a supermajority. Basically, pulling it's teeth and rendering it meaningless.
So now the Republicans can go home and say 'we tried to pass a balanced budget amendment, but those big, bad Democrats voted against it'. And the Democrats will go home and, well, I'm not sure what they say to their constituents, but I sense most could not care less about a balanced budget anyway so long as the entitlements continue to flow.
In the end, the American people get what what we always get from Washington. Politics.
Oh, by the way, we just tipped the scales to the plus side of $15 Trillion of national debt.
And to add injury to insult, despite Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac playing a large role in the economic collapse of a few years ago, a bipartisan Congressional committee, with quiet support from the White House, just announced an agreement to increase the FHA's maximum mortgage limits to $729,750 from $625,500.
So the political posturing and gamesmanship continues and I have to ask; “Do we look stupid? I mean, I don’t know, maybe we do.”