Payne: Hoorah for Supercommittee failure ( The Michigan View 11.22.11)

Posted by hpayne on November 22, 2011

The deficit reduction supercommittee failed. Good.

As Washington’s parallel universe – Michigan under Granholm – proved in the great 2007 budget deadlock, lurching from crisis to crisis and cobbling together backroom deals on deadline in no way to run a government. Indeed, the solution is worse than failure. In 2007, Senate GOPers caved to pressure from Granhom and her media parrots – and the straitjacket of a balanced budget requirement.

Under a “compromise” hailed by the media, GOPers caved to a 12 percent income tax hike and new business service taxes raising $1.5 billion in return for fragile promises of spending reform. Within days, reported the Mackinac Center, “the legislature passed bills spending the entire $1.4 billion.” Three years later, the deficit had ballooned to $2 billion

Only the election of a GOP governor and legislature stemmed the red ink. That’s the lesson for the nation. In a deeply split country, only elections can bring fiscal discipline.

Like Granholm, Obama has abdicated his responsibility as leader, using the budget process as campaign fodder. The president teed up the supercommittee as a shot in his 2012 campaign game to “blame a do-nothing Congress.” A failed deal also feeds his class warfare theme that GOPers are “protecting the wealthy’s tax breaks” (i.e. the Bush tax cuts that Obama himself supported just last year).

The supercommitte was always a political trap. “You remember that $800 billion revenue number always floating around from the Democratic leaks?” reports Larry Kudlow of National Review. “Well, that’s the static-revenue estimate of repealing the 35 percent and 33 percent Bush rates. And sometimes that Democratic revenue number moved up to $1.2 trillion. Well, that would include the static-revenue estimate of the 5.6 percent millionaire surtax. Get it? In an important sense, the whole supercommittee debate from the Democratic side was about taxing the rich.”

Democrats’ media parrots played along.

“Days away from a deadline, Congress’s deficit-reduction supercommittee is stymied, stumped in large part by one of Washington’s seemingly unsolvable problems: What to do with the Bush-era tax cuts?” wrote the Wall Street Journal joining the Democratic chorus. “Republicans are digging in against any agreement that does not extend current income-tax rates, which are scheduled to expire at the end of 2012.”

In a dramatic example of today’s divided media, the Journals’ own editorial page had to remind its readers of what its front page refused to tell them: Spending, not a lack of taxes, had taken us to this precipice.

“Domestic programs received a nearly $300 billion windfall under the 2009 stimulus, so a sequester would take back a little more than one-fifth in 2013,” reported the editorial page. “Total domestic discretionary spending doubled to $614 billion in 2010 from $298 billion in 2000. Since 2008 the Pentagon budget has grown by 10 percent, versus 24 percent for nondefense discretionary, 37 percent for Medicaid, 70 percent for education and more than 100 percent for food stamps.”

The whole exercise was a sham. Republicans should ignore it. America should ignore it. The real solution is defeating Obama in 2012. Just as the only solution for Michigan’s fiscal woes was defeating Granholm in 2010.

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