The deadline for the bicameral Super Committee to come up with a deal on deficit reduction is a week away. While many American’s don’t think that the committee will meet the deadline thus triggering large mandated budget cuts to defense and entitlements, we have President Obama warning the committee not to “cheat” by changing the law so that those cuts, particularly to the Defense, would not go into effect should the committee fail. Meanwhile, the committee’s Democratic members are proposing a $2.3 trillion tax-and-cut proposal “that includes $400 billion in Medicare and Medicaid reductions,” but only if Republicans compromise by putting new tax revenues on the table that in the end would only amount to $350 billion in new tax revenue.
The other really unacceptable proposal that the Democrats have put on the table to get the Republicans to agree to a paltry $350 billion in tax revenues, is making the Bush/Obama tax cuts permanent, even though the White House has said that President Obama would veto any bill that made those cuts permanent. Perhaps they are counting on Obama doing his usual last minute capitulation and he would sign the bill.
The Democrats are scrambling to try to make this look like a good deal but it’s not. Letting the Bush/Obama tax cuts expire would solve more of the deficit problem than anything that this committee or Congress has proposed by increasing tax revenues $1 trillion over the next 10 years. To their credit though, the Democrats have rejected the Republican offer that would cut all the tax rates across the board by 20%, lowering the top tax bracket to 27% from 35% assuming the Bush tax cuts would be extended. This would reduce tax revenues by $200 billion in just one year.
This is a muddled mess that is not really a crisis at all and in the long run won’t create any jobs but deepen the economic crisis that has been created by the burst of the housing bubble, job killing foreign trade agreements, unfair tax codes and the lack of banking regulation.
John Aravosis at AMERICAblog nails what has exacerbated much of problem: the Democrats negotiating techniques, or rather, the lack of them. The Republicans negotiate while the Democrats come to the table and offer their bottom line, so there is nowhere to go but to cave to Republican demands:
Note how the Republicans are still skewing their proposals towards large budget cuts and little tax increases, whereas the Democrats are offering 50-50 budget cuts and tax increases. That means that if both parties make concessions as they move to the “middle” – which is highly unlikely, the Dems will cave while the Rs will stay put – the “middle” will be a point at which there are more budget cuts than tax increases. Why? Because the Democrats, as always, are making their final offer – half tax increases, half budget cuts – first, so there’s nowhere to go but down.
This had been the Democratic approach since 2006 when the party gained control of both houses of Congress. It’s no wonder that voters are disgusted with both parties and that the Democrats lost the House in 2010. By gutting our social safety networks to protect the wealthy and appease the Republicans, the Democrats could well lose more in 2012 if they don’t start listening to the demands of the American people.