Unlike the other Sunday shows, in which the hosts wrung their hands metaphorically on the difficulties of getting Democrats and Republicans to go along with the Republicans' plan for austerity, Up with Chris Hayes actually proffered up the opposite stance: that it would be best if the Super Committee failed to come to some consensus. Because instead of satisfying some fetish for the notion of bipartisanship with an entire group of politicos whose ideology put us in the economic mess we're in, the Super Committee failure would actually help the country. Ezra Klein:
A bad deal can be worse than no deal at all. And over the last few weeks, the deals offered by both sides were bad deals. They cut too deeply into some areas of government -- like the education, transportation and competitiveness programs in the “non-defense discretionary spending” category -- and did too little on taxes, entitlements, and defense.
Perhaps worse, a bad deal now would make it harder to reach a good deal later. Most economists think we need about $4 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade or so. There’s a good chance, if the economy doesn’t begin to improve more rapidly, that we need a lot more. There’s little chance that we need a lot less. By the end, the supercommittee was discussing a $1.2 trillion deal. If you add in the spending cuts already agreed to in the debt-ceiling deal, that’s a $2.1 trillion deal. That would have left trillions in deficit reduction undone.And the trillions it would have left would be in the hardest categories to reach agreement on. Taxes. Entitlements. Defense. Reaching a deal on those items is going to be difficult under the best of circumstances.
We have Republicans on the Super Committee who take their pledge to Grover Norquist more seriously than their pledge to their constituents. We have capitulating, compromised Democrats who have embraced wholeheartedly the failed Milton Friedman economics and ignore that the austerity measures taken in Europe have not only failed to save the economy there, but have plunged them into worse shape.
And the truth of the matter is that even if the Super Committee fails, the automatic cuts to Defense are more than likely going to be subverted by Republicans in Congress any way.
As Senator Sherrod Brown points out, Democrats do better when they unapologetically act like Democrats. It's time they do that. Hell, they can't possibly have a lesser approval rate than they already do. RJ Eskow:
Voters already believe that Obama has been acting in good faith to fix the economy, and that the Republicans are not. If Democrats defend Social Security in the process of saving their government, polls show that voters (including many Republicans) will reward them for it.
The committee's members are being warned that all of them will suffer in any future bids for leadership if the committee "fails" to put forward a plan. The economic and polling data make the answer to that clear: Not if they "fail" like leaders. Now is the time for Democrats to explain why there are more important things at stake than peace at any price within the Super Committee -- and why the kind of deal Republicans want is worse than no deal at all.