The Super Committee Fails

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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The real deadline for the Super Committee to reach a deal has passed. Despite a November 23rd target date, midnight Monday was the point of no return, because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) needed 48 hours to analyze the agreement before it could be voted on in Congress. A last minute meeting Monday afternoon yielded no breakthrough, with both parties blaming the other for the failure to reach an agreement. The official announcement of failure came less than an hour after the markets closed. “After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline,” said co-chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

How serious was the effort to find a bipartisan consensus on reining in the nation’s runaway debt? The last time the 12 members met was November 1st. Thus the failure to find common ground was seemingly inevitable, and beginning in 2013 “sequestration,” automatic cuts evenly divided between military and domestic spending, will kick in.

Or will they? On Monday it was revealed that Republican Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are putting together legislation to prevent what they characterize as “devastating cuts” to the military. Some House Republicans are reportedly engaged in a similar effort, even as Democrats insist domestic programs will not be the sole source of savings. Leaders of both parties in the House and Senate are not enthused about abandoning the triggers. And president Obama told the Super Committee’s Democrat and Republican co-Chairmen that he “will not accept any measure that attempts to turn off the automatic cut trigger,” according to White House Spokesman Jay Carney.

Such an announcement seemingly represents the high-water mark in terms of leadership by the president. Even as the failure of the Super Committee was becoming more and more inevitable, the president remained out of the country. Such an abdication of leadership on fiscal matters is nothing new. The $3.8 trillion budget he submitted to Congress was so patently unserious it was voted down 97-0 in the Senate. He dismissed every recommendation made by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, despite the fact that he had put together the commission himself, because some of their choices conflicted with his hard-left worldview. He presided over the first downgrade of the nation’s fiscal rating, engendered in large part by the massive amount of debt his administration has amassed in less than one term. And he continues to engage in the kind of class-warfare rhetoric that makes meaningful compromise almost impossible to achieve.

Yet if a comment made by unnamed Democratic aide is any indication, failure may have been part of the administration’s re-election strategy. “The worm has turned a little bit,” the aide remarked. “The national conversation now is about income inequality and about jobs, and it’s not really about cutting the size of government anymore or cutting spending. 2010 gave one answer to that question. But 2012 will give another, and we’ve got to see what it is.”

Such cynicism is well-founded. Dwelling on economics in general, and the economic data that animated the Super Committee specifically, is not the American public’s strong suit. Thus it hardly matters that Republicans were demanding genuine cuts to spending instead of accounting gimmicks, such as counting the money the nation will no longer be spending on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as $700 billion in “savings.” Nor does it matter that they offered as much as $250 billion in tax cuts via reforming the tax code, even as the main drivers of deficit spending, namely Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, remain largely off limits to cuts–except for a 2 percent reduction in payments to Medicare providers.

As far as the public is concerned, the failure of the Super Committee is “everyone’s fault.”

How unsustainable is the path on which the country currently finds itself? One of the more sobering assessments of where we’ve been moving for the last 48 years can be seen in this chart, which traces the explosion of government spending from 1963 to the present. What it reveals is an enormously successful nation in terms of GDP growth relative to the population: though we now have 67.6 percent more Americans than we did in 1963, GDP has expanded by 228.2 percent. Unfortunately, the chart also reveals the primary source of our fiscal troubles: annual social spending has increased by a stratospheric 739.2 percent.

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  • No Leadership

    Obama failed.

    Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) recently appeared on Face the Nation. He said that Obama nedded to take a leadership role, yet seemed to be staying away from the super committee. Manchin also appeared to not be too pleased with Obama’s lack of leadership.

    In the end, Obama phoned it in.

    When running for president, Obama said that taxes should be raised. A few months ago, though, Obama said that taxes should not be raised in a recession. Now, again, Obama is saying that taxes should be raised.

    While Joe Manchin – a maverick – is riding the straight-talk express, Obama is awol and riding the full-campaign-mode express.

  • Ken

    The "Super"committee was designed to fail. It gives Obama and his uber-Lefty allies their platform of class warfare for 2012.

  • oldtimer

    The next president is being set up to fail. Obama knows exactly what he is doing. Sly and cunning.

  • Herman Caintonette

    Did anyone honestly think that the StupidCommittee would do anything?

    Tax collections are at their lowest point in 50 years. We need to live within our means, and cutting the Defense Department (where expenditures have trebled since 1997) budget is the first order of business. You want more guns? Start paying more taxes.

    • StephenD

      I LOVE that no one is responding to Herman "killing Jewish kids is morally legitimate" Caintonette.
      Invalidation is what he deserves here on FPM.

      • BS77

        Just boycott him…do not respond to his infantile ego pleading for attention.

  • Spider

    The problem isn't taxation it is the welfare state. 40% of black males in this coumtry don't work and are on the public dole which forces black females on welfare since there is no support. . Illegal alians who the polititions falsely claim are here to work are increasingly on public assistance (they cost working people in California alone 10 billion a year ) Far to many able bodied whites are also on welfare and or unemployment they wouldn't use or need if it was not made so easily available to them. I say do means testing – anyone who is able bodied who wants a welfore check should be made to work for the money. Set up factories and have them make all the cheap crap we now get from China. No work – no check it is that simple. If they had to work for the money (that is bankrupting the country) they would get off their dead arses and get a real job.

  • jacob

    As to the Defense Dept. expenditures, it is a known fact that the American soldier
    is the most expensive there is in the world and worse since the mercenary army brainstorm invention in every respect….

    But aside from that, isn't time already to stop financing so called "FRIENDS", such
    as PAKISTAN, EGYPT, HAMAS through UNWRA, HIZBULLAH through LEBANON
    and if you want, to please the Judeophobes at all levels, even ISRAEL ????
    However, talking of JOBS, which has been "ad nauseam" OBAMA's claim, are we
    ever to see the renaissance of the MADE IN USA tag ????
    Incredible enough, nowhere politicians nor common people are even mentioning
    it, which tells me that everybody is satisfied with the "statu quo" and all the garbage
    CHINA has been sending us, from human excrement fed tilapia, to lead painted
    toys, melamine in pet food, poisonous gases in sheetrock to chassure that makes
    your feet stink to high heavens, everything is honky-dory….

  • StephenD

    Look back on the posts here when this committee was formed. There are plenty of folks that called it then. It is in the interest of the Dems for this to have failed. Even if the cuts don't come (you can almost see them salivating over the idea of the deep defense cuts), they win by pointing to a "Do Nothing" Congress. No one mentions Harry Reid sitting on 12+ bills or the "Do Nothing" Democratic Majority of the Senate.
    Ken and Oldtimer are exactly right on this. The problem is the Republicans let themselves get talked into this foolishness in the first place. So in fact, it is the fault of both parties. Shame on them.

  • tagalog

    StephenD is absolutely right. Once Obama was able to move this issue past the 2012 election, it was clear that Democrats would not address the spending cuts until at least that time. The Republicans fell for that, and thus were unbelievably credulous (and I mean "unbelievably" in the sense that no intelligent politician in Washington could possibly fall for it unless it meant kicking the can down the road), so it became inevitable that the so-called super committee (it probably would be more accurately called the ineffectual committee) would deadlock. Republicans resist tax increases because they believe -rightly- that the problem is a spending problem, while Democrats, for some inexplicable reason, resist spending cuts. Obviously, they will never come together because both parties have a personal stake in putting the issue off until after the next election.

    And there is no visible hope as yet of politicians getting into power very soon who will put the interests of the nation ahead of their own. This latter problem is one that is potentially fatal to the United States' continued existence.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    One thing the article neatly omitted is the fact that the US federal government in response to the 9/11 jihad attacks was doubled in size, scope, and power via the creation of the humongous Department of Homeland Security, the extremely intrusive TSA, and the gargantuan National Intelligence Directorate ostensibly to protect the homeland from further 9/11 jihad attacks, but in reality to continue accommodating mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage, which also was increased significantly following the 9/11 jihad attacks.

    Indeed, today even though the federal government has been effectively doubled in size, scope, and power ostensibly to make the homeland safe from further 9/11 jihad attacks, the reality is because of the significant increase in mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage that coincided with the doubling of the size, scope, and power of the federal government, the truth is we are even more vulnerable to further jihad attacks today than we were prior to 9/11. As all that has been accomplished was the creation of a false sense of security, a usurpation of formerly heretofore constitutionally protected rights to freedom, liberty, and privacy, and new massive unprecedented record levels of federal deficits and national debt.

    In fact, had the US reacted in response to the 9/11 jihad attacks by outlawing Islam and banning and reversing mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage instead, not only would all the people that were murdered in cold-blood by jihadists inside America's homeland since the 9/11 jihad attacks still be alive and well today, but the homeland would also be exponentially far safer than it is today, as zero Muslims living in America translates into zero possibility of jihad attacks. In addition, the record level of federal deficits and the out of control exploding national debt also wouldn't be ballooning like it is today.

    Thus, the 800 pound gorilla in the room and the question to always be avoided at all cost like the plague is can we really afford to continue accommodating mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage? Indeed, imagine if we outlawed Islam and banned and reversed mass Muslim immigration, which is something that in the long run will have be be done eventually anyway before its too late, it would automatically reduce the possibility of jihad attacks in America's homeland to zero. Thus, since the possibility of jihad attacks in the homeland would be reduced to zero, we could simply eliminate the humongous Department of Homeland Security, the extremely intrusive TSA, and the gargantuan National Intelligence Directorate, which are in effect cumulatively the biggest federal boondoggles ever created in the history of mankind, and use the money that currently funds those completely useless and unnecessary monstrosities today, to get our financial house back in order.

    Thus, today we on the verge of implementing draconian military cuts that would in effect hollow out our military and simultaneously at the same time swing the door wide open for the forces of totalitarianism to dominate the world, and we are making that choice today in order to continue accommodating mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage. In other words, we are being sold out by our elitist politicians, as they are transforming the US into a weak, feckless, and pacifist nation similar to the Euroloons, while making us at the same time subservient dhimmis to the forces of one world governance under the auspices of the UN, which, by the way, is already controlled behind the scenes by Islam.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    We are paying the fare for our enemies, spending wildly on free this and that gimics
    by political thieves who seek only one thing reelection. Are there no responsible
    people left in America that would not see public office as candy land for continual
    self enrichment? What OYM states is absolutely true and we are being sold out by
    slick political talk which gets old but because of the attention span of Americans,
    inbetween beers and ball games there is no one paying attention and they are
    diverted by clown performances vis OWS and yes we are seeing our Nation become
    the weak, feckless and pacifist nation similar to the Euroloons as OYM states.

    What I am wondering is where did the money go and who can account for it?
    If the truth ever comes out which I doubt it will be a payday in hell for the thieves
    involved………………………………………………………..William

  • Hercules

    We are all preaching to the choir, i.e., intelligent, educated, informed people who visit these kinds of sites for information and edification. Yet, there is an army of people out there who do not hear or share our message, our understanding and our vision. They are unable to do so. They are captives of the dark side which supports Obama and the nanny socialist state. We will not know until after Nov 2012 whether the country will abandon the path of self-destruction or proceed full speed ahead to its ultimate doom. If Obama were to win in 2012 that would be an unmistakable omen that the nation's character has been permanently altered from that established by the Founding Fathers. The experiment they launched will prove to have ultimately failed while the revolting vision conceived by Karl Marx will have succeeded. Those of us who remember 'when America was free' will have existential choices to confront.