Deficit Panel: Kick The Can Down The Road And Let Republicans Agree To Revenue After 2012 Elections

Who could have predicted that a crappy undemocratic back-door deal over a trumped-up deficit "crisis" could come to this? Oh, that's right - we all did!

WASHINGTON — With a little over a week left to reach a deal, members of the Congressional deficit reduction panel are looking for an escape hatch that would let them strike an accord on revenue levels but delay until next year tough decisions about exactly how to raise taxes.

Under this approach, the panel would decide on the amount of new revenue to be raised but would leave it to the tax-writing committees of Congress to fill in details next year, well beyond the Nov. 23 deadline for the panel itself to reach an agreement. That would put off painful political decisions but ensure that the debate over deficit reduction stretched into the election year.

Hah! What could possibly go wrong with that? If the Republicans give their word, you can take it to the bank! (And we all know how dependable banks are.)

“There could be a two-step process that would hopefully give us pro-growth tax reform,” Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the top Republican on the panel, said Sunday on the CNN program “State of the Union.”

Members of Congress and their aides said they were still skeptical that the panel could agree on a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases to reduce budget deficits by $1.2 trillion over 10 years, the minimum set by law.

If the panel falls short, a series of automatic cuts, split evenly between military and civilian programs, would take effect, starting in 2013. Some fear that such a failure could lead to the kind of stock market slide and loss of investor confidence that accompanied stalled efforts to raise the federal debt limit earlier this year.

Yes, because otherwise, the economy's in tip-top shape! Paul Krugman comments:

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a turkey!

I thought I had worked out all the worst-case scenarios for the supercommittee (there was never a best-case). But this is even worse than my worst imagining: a deal to undermine key social insurance programs in return for a promise that Congress will come up with a plan for raising revenue at some future date. If you think that promise has any credibility whatsoever – if you have any doubts that the end result would be to gut Social Security and actually cut taxes for the wealthy – I have this Nigerian bank account that can be yours if you send me $100,000 in expenses.

The worst of it is that Democrats might actually go for it.

Anyone want to quote the odds on this?


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.