POSTED: Monday, November 21, 2011 - 6:10pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 21, 2011 - 7:32pm
The so-called Congressional Super Committee has reached a dead end.
Unable to agree on a deficit reducing package, the 12 Democrats and Republicans have set the stage for automatic budget cuts.
The process is rather clumsily named sequestration.
It means the budget will automatically be cut across the board if the committee didn’t come up with a plan of their own.
It’s a hard, unchangeable trigger.
Unless of course, it’s not.
The agonizing and questionable fight over the debt ceiling last summer produced this committee, along with a credit downgrade for the country.
And their job was simply to find a way to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2-trillion over the next 10 years.
In the strange world of Washington, that should be small potatos.
But because it’s Washington, of course it isn’t.
Democrats on the 12 member committee wanted more revenue from tax increases than Republicans could stomach.
Republicans wanted more cuts in programs like Medicare than Democrats could handle.
And everyone is worried about defense, which is approaching 20% of the budget.
So now, a set of triggers kick in which will cut that amount across the board..,.in 2013.
Some are already moving to cut the trigger amount, but President Obama says he will veto any attempt to do that.
Here’s the irony.
If the Bush tax cuts simply expire as they are set to do, the scheduled reductions in Medicare go into effect, the triggers are left in place, interest is saved in the process, and the deficit is all but gone by mid-decade.
That is if Congress does nothing.
And that’s what the Congress does best.