Monday, November 14, 2011

The Super Committee is a Sham

In ten days, the group of politicians who comprise the so-called Super Committee will have arrived at their deadline to provide their solution to the federal deficit. They are charged with finding spending cuts and revenue grabs to get our economic downturn under control. The deal deadline is November 23, 2011.

The committee consists of six Republicans and six Democrats. Three from each party are members of the House of Representatives and three are from the Senate.

Standard accounting gimmicks are in play, as shown here by one used by the Democrats:

Democrats on the supercommittee have proposed that the savings from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan be used to pay for a new stimulus package, according to a summary of the $2.3 trillion plan obtained by The Hill.

The GOP is opposed to counting the war savings in the supercommittee package and does not want the panel’s special powers to be used to fast-track President Obama’s stimulus request.

It is understandable if you missed a very interesting fact from the bogus exercise that is this Super Committee - the penalties put into place if an agreement is not met by the deadline don't really go into effect until 2013. Yes, that's right, 2013. After the presidential election and the re-election campaigns of Congress. Somehow this little nugget managed to avoid publicity at the birth of the committee.

Failure by the panel would result in $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts divided between discretionary and security spending.

Clearly, this is just another Obama punt. Desperate for positive approval in polling as he clings to hope of re-election, the president decided to declare the need for yet another committee to figure out the hard stuff. In this case, the deficit hole we are in. There should have never been a committee needed. GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called the committee idea "stupid".

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) a staunch fiscal conservative made some painful concessions concerning revenues and even that was turned away by the Democrats on the committee. Nothing short of big tax hikes, in the name of new revenue, will suffice for them.

Two days after Republicans on the so-called super committee, led by Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, offered a $1.5 trillion package that included, for the first time, new tax revenue to the tune of about $300 billion, Democrats are rejecting the offer.

Toomey and his GOP colleagues on the panel put about $600 billion in total revenue on the table, including auctioning broadcast spectrum space, the sale of excess federal land, Medicare premium increases for wealthier seniors, and modifying tax write-offs for mortgage interest and charitable giving. Some of that total figure, according to one senior GOP aide, was to come from "growth" as a result of predicted improvements in the economy. In exchange, Republicans sought to lower Bush-era tax rates, in particular the top rate from 35% to 28%, as well as, making all of the current marginal income tax rates permanent.

Super committee co-chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., scoffed at the proposal, telling reporters that Republicans had not offered "real revenue."

Asked if Democrats had made a counter-offer to the Toomey proposal, Kerry said he would give no details "on anything we've offered or they've offered."

Just more of the same from those sent to Washington to do the peoples' business.

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