As part of the hilariously insufficient debt ceiling deal back in August, Congress established a group called the ‘super committee’ that would be charged with deciding how to actually make the cuts mandated by the compromise. This group was Congress’s way of avoiding doing their job. Instead of actually making choices about how to reduce federal spending, Congress set up a new committee with a ludicrously tiny mandate (in comparison to the size of the crisis) and hoped they would do it instead.
The ‘super committee’—formally titled the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—is made up of three House Republicans, three House Democrats, three Senate Republicans, and three Senate Democrats. Their responsibility is to figure out how to cut a paltry $1.2 trillion from the next decade’s combined federal deficits . . . which are running at over 1 trillion dollars/year. You do the math. And they have to report their decisions by this Wednesday.
We won’t really know if they meet that deadline until we get there, but the major media broke the story over the weekend that it appeared the ‘super committee’ would fail, and would either make no compromise recommendation or would make one that fell far short of the $1.2 trillion target. Fine by me.
You see, Congress foresaw this eventuality. In the absence of a plan presented by the ‘super committee,’ a series of across-the-board federal budget cuts go into effect in 2013 to reduce the deficits by the targeted amount. Good. Instead of fighting to the death over which Congressman’s pet-programs will be spared and which will be cut, we’ll just cut them all equally. This is what we should have done in the first place anyway, although we should cut enough to balance the darn budget instead of just reducing the planned increases. No program is actually being cut under any of these proposals; we’re discussing whether to increase each program’s budget by X percent or Y percent. They’re still increases either way.
Which is really the problem anyway. We need to quit wasting time with all this talk about non-solutions and start discussing how to actually solve our sovereign debt crisis . . . before we start looking like Greece. We can’t keep buying more government than we can afford.