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Debt Reduction Super Committee Fails To Agree 954

Posted by timothy
from the spend-all-you-want-they'll-print-more dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "VOA reports that the latest effort to cut the U.S. government's debt apparently has ended in failure as leaders of the special 12-member debt reduction committee plan to announce that they failed in their mandate from lawmakers to trim the federal debt by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. Democrats and Republicans blame each other for the collapse of the effort. 'Our Democratic friends were never able to do the entitlement reforms,' said Republican Senator Jon Kyl. 'They weren't going to do anything without raising taxes.' Democratic Senator Patty Murray, one of the committee's co-chairs, says that the Republicans' position on taxes was the sticking point. 'The wealthiest Americans who earn over a million a year have to share too. And that line in the sand, we haven't seen Republicans willing to cross yet,' Now in the absence of an agreement, $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts to domestic and defense programs are set to take effect starting in January, 2013, and the lack of a deal will deprive President Barack Obama of a vehicle for extending a payroll tax cut and insurance benefits for unemployed Americans, which expire at the end of the year." (Though the official deadline for the committee's hoped-for plan is tomorrow — the 23d — they were to have provided it for review 48 hours prior.)
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Debt Reduction Super Committee Fails To Agree

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  • by Bardwick (696376) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @09:53AM (#38134756)
    Understand that most of what they are talking about is reductions in spending INCREASES, not cuts, ala Military. In the current lingo: You spend $100 in 2011, you planned to spend $125 in 2012. If you only spend $100 in 2012, it's called a 25% cut in the military... In most cases (by default), government spending goes up by 8% per year. If it only increase 4%, every screams "cut my program by 4%". Again, all of this rests on the ASSUMPTION that we have a budget, which we do not. The United States has not passed a budget in about 3 years...
  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @09:55AM (#38134776) Homepage

    The reason they're not getting anywhere with spending cuts is the game has been rigged in favor of spending increases in the first place.

    They have generous rates of increase built into the budgeting process. All of the so-called "cuts" are actually (slight) decreases to the rate of increase.

    They could plug up the deficit merely by having slightly greater increase rate decreases.

    Anyways, they can cut now, or they can have the universe cut for them. There's a limit to how much you can just keep spending pretend money.

    A related rant is how Congress has gotten around the 27th amendment. That was supposed to say there should be an election in between Congressional pay raises. But they came up with a process whereby they get automatic cost of living increases without voting on it. Flagrantly unconstitutional. It's the same sort of thing.

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:03AM (#38134858)

    Democrats want to give the working class a 1% tax cut, cut taxes on businesses by 50%, and let the tax rates for the 1% go back to where they were?!? OMFG no way! It is good that the Republicans are working so hard for "us". [/SNARK]

    Obama wants to cut the payroll tax by another percentage point for workers, at a total cost of $179 billion, and cut the employer share of the tax in half as well for most companies, which carries a $69 billion price tag.
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA?SITE=PAREA&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT [ap.org]

    Democrats, including Obama, want to extend the Bush tax cuts only to individuals making less than $200,000 a year and married couples making less than $250,000.
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUPERCOMMITTEE_BUSH_TAX_CUTS?SITE=PAREA&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT [ap.org]

    "After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline," said a joint statement by the co-chairs, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

  • Deficit (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:04AM (#38134866)

    It's not about debt reduction, but about the budget deficit.

    national debt 15 trillion

    budget 2012 3.7 trillion
    income 2012 2.6 trillion

    deficit 2012 1.1 trillion

  • Re:I blame Norquist (Score:2, Informative)

    by jimbolauski (882977) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:15AM (#38134980) Journal
    Tax increases in a bad economy is a dangerous thing the higher the taxes the less profit a company can make off an investment. Companies have a risk reward calculation they base their investment decisions on. In a bad economy the risks of failure are higher and raising taxes reduces the reward so there will be less investment. If the goal is to fix the budget then the economy has to be taken into account because a bad economy means less revenue. The US is in a corner and the only way out is to reduce spending, the military is preparing for a 20% cut in spending, many of the pork projects need to get cut as well.
  • by muffen (321442) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:28AM (#38135126)

    The Republicans were never going to agree to anything.

    Oh but they did agree to something, they agreed to go into the discussion AFTER signing the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge": http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/21/grover-norquist-tax-lobbyist-supercommittee-gop [guardian.co.uk]
    They really set themselves up for success on that one.
    "I know, lets go into a discussion about the US finances, but before we do, let's remove some of the most powerful tools in our toolbox completely"

    I'm a european working for an American company, and have always been impressed with how American companies do business, their aggressive plans and the "everything is up for grabs" mentality. Lately however, I've been equally unimpressed by the opposite, here we are, facing a massive problem, and the American politicians are behaving like babies.
    The response? Smoke weed on wall-street!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:33AM (#38135202)

    As a Millennial, I don't give a rat's ass if you "paid into Social Security all of your life." I am paying into it now and it's a fact that I won't receive it.

    Actually, it's pretty likely you will receive Social Security benefits. As things stand now, the Social Security Administration can afford to pay all benefits as promised into the 2030s. Once the economy recovers, revenues will increase and the horizon will extend back into the late 2040s. Minor tweaks to the system can easily save Social Security. Republicans are determined to drive a stake into the heart of the New Deal, and therefore try to convince people that Social Security is on the brink of collapse and that something radical must be done right away, before it's too late! Bullshit.

    Payroll taxes fund Social Security and Medicare. Payroll taxes cap out around $100k or so. More than 20% of income earned in the US is taken home by people making more than $400k/yr (the 1%). Raise the payroll tax cap to $1M/yr and the "problem" is more than solved.

  • by swalve (1980968) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:39AM (#38135286)
    Social Security is completely separate. Pays for itself, and has trillions in surplus. Medicare and Medicaid would also pay for themselves, had W not created a massive entitlement via the drug program without raising the tax to pay for it.

    The US debt problem IS a revenue problem. Look at the chart [huffingtonpost.com]- the biggest contributor to the debt going forward is the Bush tax cut.
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:42AM (#38135318)
    The Republicans proposed a plan that would have raised taxes by eliminating deductions while lowering marginal rates (thus raising effective rates). The Democrats completely refused to even negotiate such a proposal. The only thing the Democrats were willing to accept was an increase in marginal rates on the highest earners with some mythical spending cuts down the road. I call the spending cuts mythical for two reasons. First, they would have relied on future Congresses to actually implement them when they passed spending bills in the future. Second, they were not actual spending cuts, they were cuts in the amount that spending is currently projected to increase.
  • by Zironic (1112127) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:45AM (#38135368)

    Social Security income:
    Social Security and other payroll tax $925 billion
    Social Security Expenditure:
    Social Security $761 billion (+2.6%)

    Oooh, what's that? Social Security making PROFIT. Social Security pays for itself and is not actually meant to be a part of the budget.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:51AM (#38135454) Homepage

    I don't mind paying for the elderly, but the program needs to be cut off at its knees now because it is the height of injustice to expect us and Generation X to fund such a horribly mismanaged program now that the Boomers want to retire. They had 1994-2008 to right the ship of state, to try to rebuild the trust fund (which was destroyed on their parents' watch) and ran one of the most irresponsible periods of American government in our history.

    To reach that conclusion, you have to have missed a lot of important information:
    1. In the late 1980's, the federal government, acting on the advice of Alan Greenspan and others, increased payroll taxes specifically to build up a giant pile of cash for the Boomers to retire on.
    2. The Social Security Administration took that pile of cash and invested it in US Treasury bonds, as required by law. They invest in US Treasuries primarily to prevent the risk of corruption and to reduce the risk that the pile of cash will disappear.
    3. Congress took that same cash that was invested in US Treasuries, started treating that as income, and spent it, effectively kicking the can down the road.
    4. If the general US budget pays off the US Treasuries held by the Social Security Administration, then Social Security will be fine for at least another 40 years.

    The only reason Social Security is declared to be in some sort of crisis mode is because it's demanding that the loans they made to the rest of the government be paid back.

    The equivalent of this in the private sector would be raiding the pension fund, and then telling people who go to collect on their pensions "Sorry, the money is gone".

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:59AM (#38135556) Homepage

    Social Security is completely separate. Pays for itself, and has trillions in surplus.

    Well, yes and no.

    The yes part is that under current law, you're absolutely right.

    The no part is that the SSA, in order to access that surplus, has to demand payment on the loans it made to the general treasury, and the people in control of the general treasury don't want to pay them back and have an army to back them up.

  • Re:Mod Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning.netzero@net> on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:04AM (#38135652) Homepage Journal

    It was a power envisioned by the framers of the U.S. Constitution, even though it wasn't explicitly spelled out. The point of ruling a law "unconstitutional" really is one of recognition: If the court system refuses to acknowledge the validity of a law and therefore doesn't even recognize that the law has been created through a constitutional process, that law really doesn't exist as far as the court system is concerned. Yes, it may appear on the books of statutory law, but effectively a single citation to a higher court judicial opinion (not even the supreme court) invalidating that law renders ineffective any prosecution under that law.

    That was the whole point of Marbury v. Madison, so far as in that case even the filing of the case before the Supreme Court was unconstitutionally done and therefore it was unconstitutional for such a petition to have been granted in the first place. This was also a constitutional crises so far as the only legal means to enforce a law was to perform an act that in itself was contrary to the U.S. Constitution. The law under question in that case, the Judiciary Act of 1789, had several provisions that simply were ill advised to even be put into legislation and most significant was an unconstitutional expansion of the U.S. Supreme Court itself and its authority. To have ruled in favor of Marbury would have essentially forced the court to ignore the U.S. Constitution altogether and to have considered statutory law alone on the presumption that it was the domain exclusively of the U.S. Congress to determine the scope of the Constitution. In that sense, I think it was a very wise move for the court to have taken at the time, even if this decision might be abused in other contexts.

  • by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:11AM (#38135732) Journal

    I can see where the right-wingers think it's a trollish comment, but the message is sound. I've been to Tea Party rallies, there's nothing but racism to be found there. "Obama's a socialist" from the same guys carrying around pictures of him and his family with chimpanzee heads pasted on, guys with barely-concealed KKK tattoos, and don't forget the one with the "Werez da birf certifikit hez a muzlim nigger" sign.

    If your point was sound, you wouldn't have to lie.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:15AM (#38135778)

    Except that those signs and events aren't a lie [google.com]...

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:15AM (#38135780) Journal

    Frum was hawkish on Iraq, because the evidence on Iraq was sound (at least, sound enough if you fell for Saddam's bluster, a point which has been lost on the "no blood for oil" crowd: Saddam was desperately trying to prop up the illusion that he had a WMD program for fear that the Saudis or Iranians would decide he'd outlived his usefulness and come in to take Iraq from him themselves).

    Don't you mean "if you fell for Saddam's bluster and ignored the reports of the weapons inspectors on the ground"?

    Hans Blix* couldn't find any chemical or biological weapons.
    ElBaradei** couldn't find any evidence Saddam had rebuilt a nuclear program.
    Cheney said they were wrong
    History tells us that Blix and ElBaradei were right.

    *at the time, head of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency
    **at the time, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency

  • by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:19AM (#38135838) Journal

    TL:DR version: you're a deluded, inbred, racist fuckwit.

    Assuming that all conservatives are "inbred, racist fuckwits" makes YOU the bigot, not them.

  • by ftobin (48814) * on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:42AM (#38136154) Homepage

    And why do you think it needs to be a bigger part of your life ?

    This is what you are asking for when you demand taxes be raised.

    Increasing tax revenue so we can pay down debt does not imply a larger government. Don't make ridiculous implications; it embarrasses us other Americans.

  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:45AM (#38136194)

    Ok, first of all, that's an email. Not a sign. Also, Marylin Davenport was roundly vilified by Tea Party members for that email, and was (if I remember correctly) asked to resign from her position. I don't know what ever came of it, but her's was a view that was NEVER mainstream among the tea party.

    Also, there have been some blatantly racist signs at Tea Party rallies, but if you back the picture out a bit and get some context, you would discover that the horrible signs are being carried by people that aren't part of the Tea Party rally, and are often either fringe hanger-on groups, or left-wing infiltrators.

    There is plenty of video out there of these people being shouted and chased out of the tea party rallies [thegatewaypundit.com], while the MSM follows taking pictures only of the fringe people and ignoring the rest of the rally.

    Heck, back when the rallies were in full swing there were several topics ongoing at KOS and SA about just that. Crashing the Tea Party [leftcoastrebel.com] rallies with racist signs [biggovernment.com] to try and get press time.

    At least among the left, it worked.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:49AM (#38136238)

    The Republican party has been hijacked by extremists. The Koch brothers, et. al. have been very successful in pushing big lies en masse to a voting constituency too stupid to understand the consequences of what they're being fed. This constituency elects "tea-party" candidates and vows to push out "RINOs".

    Result? A de facto extremist takeover of the conservative republican wing of the party. Anyone who compromises is accused of heresy, and voted out. Compromise becomes as impossible for congress.

    FYI, I'm an elitist. Since I'm not running for office, I don't have to pretend to be stupid. Nor do I pander to stupid people. So, take your best shot.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:49AM (#38136248)

    The fact that Democrats are offering any cuts at all to social programs is a true act of compromise.

    They were NOT offering any cuts in spending, they were offering to reduce the amount they projected spending to increase for those social programs. In addition, most of those "cuts" were down the road far enough that no one would be held accountable when a future Congress failed to actually implement them. In my lifetime, despite Congress on several occasions agreeing to "spending cuts", the amount the Federal Government has spent has increased every year.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:55AM (#38136342)

    Let's take your points as they are:

    Hans Blix:
    - Iraq was impeding his mission deliberately. [bbc.co.uk]
    - Iraq was playing cat and mouse games [hmforces.co.uk].
    - Report to UN on Janurary 27th, 2003: "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it."

    ElBaradei:
    - was relying on Iraq themselves to provide evidence [cnn.com].
    - report to the UN from ElBaradei was that Iraq was withholding evidence and materials, that their Dec. 7, 2002 document dump “did not provide any new information relevant to certain questions that have been outstanding since 1998. [gwu.edu]"

    At the time, they were NOT certain what was present, because Saddam was deliberately not cooperating. So we had three theories. We had the theory (which turned out to be correct) that there wasn't anything left and Saddam was just blustering. We had the theory, which the US had, that Saddam's weapons program had gone underground into storage or hidden operation. And we had the theory, proposed by the Weenie French, that we shouldn't attack Iraq because Saddam would use WMD's to retaliate.

    Oh, and let's not forget that the UN high mucky-mucks, particularly those like Hans Blix and ElBaradei, were already under heavy suspicion related to Kofi Annan and the oil-for-food scandal [washingtonpost.com] and all the bribery Saddam's regime was tossing around from it.

  • Re:Mod Up (Score:4, Informative)

    by d3ac0n (715594) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:07PM (#38136496)

    Umm... The person I was replying to was referring to adding ADDITIONAL oversight to our EXISTING government framework. They were implying that our system of checks and balances as stated in the Constitution was inadequate and we needed yet another layer of oversight to make it work.

    My point was that adding more layers for oversight doesn't help because it doesn't fix the central issue: Too much central government.

    If you read the Constitution and the writings of our founding fathers (Do you have your copy of the Federalist Papers? Thomas Payne's "Common Sense"? The combined writings of Thomas Jefferson? I have mine right here.) you would see that while they differed on some of the specifics, the founders envisioned a LIMITED central government who's role was kept at a minimum. Defending the country, ensuring peace and unimpeded economic traffic between the states (the infamous "commerce clause") and providing for jurisprudence over country-wide legal issues. that was it.

    Our modern government has grown FAR beyond the original intent of a simple framework to hold the states together and into a behemoth that reaches tentacles into every aspect of our daily lives. One literally cannot do anything that is not in some way impacted by, regulated by or taxed by our monstrous, over sized, behemoth federal government. This is what needs fixing.

    Ultimately, we must come to the realization that the promise of socialism; That the central government can fill every need, take away every want and create a utopian "socially just" society is a lie. It isn't possible, and it's high time that after 100 years of it in America we need to simply stop trying for it. If we don't, we each get to personally experience the reality of socialism's "end game". Financial collapse, widespread poverty, and Tyranny. We will all be equal. Equally poor, equally oppressed, and equally lost.

    Better to have the "inequality" of Capitalism and get an "unequal" share of it's blessings, than have an equal share of the misery of socialism.

  • by Nimey (114278) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:17PM (#38136658) Homepage Journal

    What you people always ignore (on purpose) is that the Republicans had enough votes to filibuster in the Senate. And they did for pretty much everything.

    Kind of impossible to have a budget when the minority party will abuse their power to prevent anything from passing.

  • by tbannist (230135) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:22PM (#38136732)

    Tellingly, from the report I read the Republicans were actually willing to raise taxes, but only for the middle and lower class and as long as the highest income bracket got a permanent 7% reduction in their marginal tax rate (from 35% to 28%).

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:50PM (#38137178) Homepage Journal

    Same as the Tea party event I attended. Well not spouting, but all the clue words where theirs.

    Someone like him. Those people, not a real american,, and so on. It was had to leave, because of the stupid.

  • Re:Mod Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by d3ac0n (715594) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:17PM (#38138772)

    While I can appreciate your position, your assumption that the founders set up the Republic to have limited government because of communications restrictions is specious at best.

    I can prove it to you by simple extending your argument to the planet as a whole.

    It used to take over a YEAR to travel around the globe. now one merely needs to hop on a plane, and with a few changes and layovers, you can circumnavigate the globe in a few days. if you have enough money, you can hitch a ride on a Russian rocket and circle the globe at several thousand miles an hour in LEO if you want.

    Communications across the planet are now as instantaneous as talking across the room. I regularly have online discussions with complete strangers that I will probable never meet from foreign lands that I have never visited. Something the Founders could not have imagined even in their wildest dreams.

    And yet, I hear no rational calls for One World Government. If the speed of communications and travel is the ONLY reason for a limited American government, why not extend that to the entire world? It's not as though the various countries of the world aren't in constant conflict with one another. Why not a large, strong central government to rule the whole world?

    Of course, we already tried that. It was called Fascism, and then Communism. (Brother ideologies, really.) and both have been roundly defeated and are rightly now ridiculed as monstrous and evil.

    Then of course, there are the actual writings of the Founders, who frequently stated their desire for a LIMITED government. Not because of communications, but because it was wise.

    Behold their words:


    I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.
    -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Ludlow, September 6, 1824

    "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests." - Patrick Henry

    "If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare⦠The powers of Congress would subvert the very foundation, the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America." - Alexander Hamilton

    "As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.
    If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.
    It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot well be separated.
    There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison

    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
    To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." - Thomas Jefferson

    "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson

    "With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there

  • Re:Mod Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @05:41PM (#38141356)

    You spend a lot of time on Jefferson and Madison; the quote from Franklin really is inappropriate in its entirety given that it was written long before the Constitution, as part of a letter to delegates advocating secession, and tarring British loyalists as "giving up liberty" for the "security" of the British empire. Jefferson was off in France and had absolutely shit-all to do with the writing of the Constitution. Madison, meanwhile, is MUCH more in favor of centralized government than you give him credit for; the bulk of his writings (which come from the Federalist, not the ANTI-Federalist) are a defense of vesting power in a centralized, federal government and not a call to strip the federal government of power and simply re-create the old Articles of Confederacy.

    But, since you've proven only an ability to pull quotations out of context and absolutely zero understanding of the process in which the Constitution let me clue you in: the basics of it, including the separation of powers, were the production of the Virginia delegation led by Edmund Randolph. The bicameral legislature was pulled from British tradition, while the idea of power-against-power as checks and balances came heavily from the philosophical writings of John Locke. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were heavy proponents of "proportional only" representation in both houses, and were ruled down by the smaller states before the compromise of the Senate/House division. William Paterson, a STRONG federalist, proposed the competing unicameral "two representatives per state" option that eventually became the Senate. Gouverneur Morris, who wrote the preamble, was also a strong federalist who had roundly decried the antisocial behavior of the states towards each other under the Articles - he had previously been a congressional representative during the Articles, but was defeated for reelection when anti-federalism became popular in New York.

    When you want to look over the creation of the Constitution, you need to look at the writings of those who were actually there. You've misquoted James Madison, you've barely done justice to Ben Franklin (who was almost a freaking anarchist, as evidenced by his speech from the final day of the convention), and your other "founding fathers" weren't even participants in its creation. [usconstitution.net]

    In short: it is you, sir, who is uneducated, ill-informed, and completely wrong about the Constitution.

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