Here are two reports to keep in mind as the prospects for supercommittee “success” dim.
One is from the Washington Post:
If the congressional “supercommittee” cannot agree on a plan to tame the federal debt by next week’s deadline, as now appears likely, here’s what will happen: nothing.
The automatic spending cuts that were supposed to force the panel to deliver more palatable options would not take effect until January 2013. That leaves lawmakers a full year to devise alternatives.
The other is from conservative wonk extraordinaire Jim Capretta, a piece titled “For the Supercommittee, Failure Might Be the Best Option”:
In truth, what is really holding back the super committee is that it does not have a mandate from voters to do what needs to be done. That’s going to take another election, in 2012. Only then will it be clear which vision of government – permanently higher taxes to pay for the entitlement status quo, or lower taxes with sensible entitlement reform – has the upper hand. At that point, both sides will be able to calibrate their positions to reflect political reality.
Until then, asking the super committee to fix the problem is simply unrealistic. And there’s really no reason to wring hands over it.
After the election, when the voters have had their say, Congress will still have plenty of time to implement changes that would forestall the need for a 2013 sequester, and to provide room for the president (whoever that might be) to work with the next Congress on a broad budget deal. That will be the moment to address the fundamental questions that must be answered to narrow the long-term gap between revenue and spending. Not now.
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