I thought the idea was stupid before, and now, it appears I was right. Rather than actually making cuts necessary to balance the budget and keep America from spiraling out of control under increasing debt, our leaders in Washington passed the buck. They created a Budget Super Committee to come up with a plan to cut $1.2 trillion out of the budget. If the committee couldn't do its job, then the legislation mandates that across-the-board cuts will be implemented. This was designed to make sure the committee acted. Guess what? They didn't! And now some in Washington want to go back on the legislation that they wrote just a few months ago!
It's actually quite pathetic. As reported by the Associated Press, the Budget Super Committee "appears likely to admit failure on Monday, unable or unwilling to compromise on a mix of spending cuts and tax increases required to meet its assignment of saving taxpayers at least $1.2 trillion over the coming decade."
The panel is sputtering to a close after two months of talks in which the members were never able to get close to bridging a fundamental divide over how much to raise taxes to address a budget deficit that forced the government to borrow 36 cents of every dollar it spent last year.
Members of the bipartisan panel, formed during the summer crisis over raising the government's borrowing limit, spent their time on Sunday in testy performances on television talk shows, blaming each other for the impasse.
Of course, it's the Associated Press, so their emphasis is on the big, bad Republicans not wanted to raise taxes. Just look at the first quote that shows up in the story:
"There is one sticking divide. And that's the issue of what I call shared sacrifice," said panel co-chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on CNN's "State of the Union."
"The wealthiest Americans who earn over a million a year have to share too. And that line in the sand, we haven't seen Republicans willing to cross yet," she said.
I don't even want to get started on this one, but I must make two comments. First, what is this about "shared sacrifice?" Hello! The so-called "rich" pay for almost EVERYTHING the government does. Secondly, we are in this budget mess because we SPEND TOO MUCH. The way to get out is to spend less, yet all the media and the Dems want to focus on is raising more taxes. Remember the budget deal in which the first President Bush agreed to raise taxes? It was supposed to be $1 in taxes increases for each $2 in budget cuts. How's that working out for all of us?
But, I digress. My point is actually not to bash the Dems. Instead, it's to convey an absolute lack of faith that ANYONE in Washington can do what he or she is elected to do. Stop spending so much!
Rather than doing the cutting, they passed the buck to the Super Committee. Here's a summary of what the budget legislation which created the committee does:
Failure by the panel would trigger about $1 billion over nine years in automatic across-the-board spending cuts to a wide range of domestic programs and the Pentagon budget, starting in 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This action, called a "sequester," would also generate $169 billion in saving from lower interest costs on the national debt.
Here's how bad it has become. Not only did the committe not do it's job, but now, Washington politicians want to go back on the legislation that they passed and block the automatic cuts.
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., say they are writing legislation to prevent what they say would be devastating cuts to the military. House Republicans are exploring a similar move. Democrats maintain they won't let domestic programs be the sole source of savings.
With nearly $500 billion in defense spending and an equal amount of domestic dollars at stake, plenty of lawmakers are ready to try blocking all or parts of those automatic cuts, if only to win favor from backers of programs whose funds are on the chopping block.
"I have no doubt that there will be efforts to turn it off," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "Never underestimate the willingness of politicians to try to avoid making some of the hard choices."
So, half of the automatic cuts would come from defense, yet it is the entitlement programs that are swallowing up our budget. I guess it's rocket science or something, but to me, you cut the items that are busting the budget.
This whole situation is an example of political cowardice. We spend too much, and the people in Washington won't stop. They say they will, but they won't. And they have not put forward any plan EVER that will make the cuts necessary to get America back on track.
Granted, it's hard when you have Democrats in control of the Senate and the White House. I do believe that there are a core group in the House who want to get things done. However, this fiasco shows that there are a lot more who are willing to talk than act. Pathetic!