Super committee failure: Bush’s fault

by Matt Lacy–

After the “super committee” announced it had failed in its mission to cut $1 trillion from a $15 trillion dollar deficit, both sides started playing the blame game.

ABC News ostensibly blamed former President Bush for the deadlock. In a story titled “Bush tax cut debate dooms deal to cut deficit,” ABC News reported, “A long-running war between Democrats and Republicans over Bush-era tax cuts doomed the debt super committee’s chances of reaching a deal.”

The super committee was established as part of this summer’s debate over the debt limit. The committee consists of 12 individuals, six from each party, and was tasked with coming up with over $1.2 trillion in cuts to the federal budget over a ten year span. If it failed to do so, automatic cuts to the defense budget and other programs would kick in.

In a sign of classic Washingtonspeak, members got into a debate over what the meaning of “defense” was. Some members said it referred just to the military, while others said Homeland Security and other budgets such as the FBI were part of the defense budget.

Even if the super committee would have been able to agree on cuts, none of them would have taken place until 2013, after the presidential election.

Republicans blamed the Democrats for holding firm on raising taxes, while Democrats countered saying the Republicans were holding firm on not raising any taxes.

However during the negotiations, Republicans had agreed to raise tax revenues by $300 billion. Democrats insisted on over $1 trillion in new taxes in order to reach the deficit reduction goals. They argued that extending the Bush tax cuts would add to the deficit. This statement is based on the assumption that all money belongs to Washington, and any tax cut is simply the government deciding how much of a person’s money they earn they will be allowed to keep.

While the cuts are to be spread out over defense and domestic departments; a Congressional Budget Office analysis shows the amount cut from defense will equal ten percent of its budget in 2013. Social Security is exempt from the cuts and Medicaid is limited to a 2 percent reduction. Agriculture, environment and education programs will be cut by only 8 percent if the automatic cuts kick in.

Defense leaders have warned that further cuts to the defense budget could be devastating. The military budget is already scheduled to be cut over $450 billion over the next decade. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta has warned that any further cuts “will truly devastate our national security.”

While the military’s budget has been cut, Obama has stepped up deployments to additional countries around the globe such as Uganda, Nigeria and Australia.

Obama has said he will veto any Congressional proposal that attempts to roll back the automatic cuts after the super committee failed to come up with the targeted cuts.

Rep. Cory Gardner (Colo. CD-4) expressed frustration that the committee did not address what he felt was one of the biggest driver of the debt. Rachel Boxer, a spokesman for Gardner said, “Congressman Gardner is disappointed that the supercommittee was not successful.  He is especially frustrated that even though President Obama admits the biggest driver of our debt is healthcare costs, Democrats never offered a plan to address that.  Republicans, meanwhile, offered up multiple proposals that were all rejected.”

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  • Ray says:

    The super committee was never meant to succeed…

    CBS’ Bill Plante (senior White House correspondent):

    “But it’s safe to say that in the absence of a real debt deal, which of course they’d like to have, the administration couldn’t be happier that this is failing, because they will try to blame it all on Republicans going into the election year.”

    If the super committe succeeded, no continuation of the aforementioned blame game. Same with the jobs bill – it was not proffered by Obama with any hopes of passing. It was/is something for Obama to run on as he continues his blame game.

    Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) was tired of Obama’s lack of leadership, even back in March:

    Politico. 3/18/2011. “Freshman Democrat Joe Manchin: Obama has ‘failed to lead’ on budget”

    Recently, Manchin appeared on Face the Nation and said that Obama was staying away from the super committee, shouldn’t be doing this, needed to exert leadership, and was not pleased at all with Obama’s lack of leadership.

    Obama ran on raising taxes when campaigning for the presidency. A few months back, though, he said that taxes should not be raised during a recession. Now Obama is, once again, saying that taxes should be raised.

    Regardless of the issue, Obama is riding the full-campaign-mode express, while Manchin – a maverick – is riding the straight-talk express.

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