Political Animal


November 19, 2011 10:40 AM Why the super-committee talks are failing

By Steve Benen

You may have seen headlines yesterday about Republicans on the so-called super-committee offering Democrats a new debt-reduction offer. At a certain level, that seemed encouraging — the GOP co-chairman of the panel had said just a few days ago that there would be no other offers.

You may have also noticed that Democrats turned down the proposal. Is it because Dems are unwilling to compromise? Obviously not — Dems have been so eager to strike some kind of deal that they “offered a plan that moved significantly toward the Republicans and a considerable way beyond the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson and Gang of Six plans, which conservative senators like Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo had embraced.” The GOP refused.

The problem, of course, is with the substance of the new Republican plan. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Paul N. Van de Water summarized the latest GOP proposal, put on the table late yesterday.

Republicans on the supercommittee have made a new offer that would reduce deficits by $640 billion over the next decade, according to news reports…. The Republican offer consists of roughly $542 billion in spending cuts and $3 billion in revenues, meaning the ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases in the plan is 181 to 1. These measures would also produce nearly $100 billion in debt-service savings. Democrats promptly rejected the new Republican offer as unbalanced.

When one includes the $900 billion in discretionary spending cuts already enacted in the Budget Control Act, the plan’s total deficit reduction rises to about $1.445 trillion, and its ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases rises to 481 to 1.

Hmm. So, Democrats would give up $542 billion in spending cuts and Republicans would give up $3 billion in revenue — not a penny of which would come from additional taxes on anyone, but rather, the end of a tax break currently enjoyed by corporate jet owners.

This, in the minds of GOP committee members, is a “compromise.”

Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), a House Democratic leader and a super-committee member, told The Hill after hearing the GOP offer, “Do we look stupid?

Republicans should take that as a “no” to the offer.

This is, by the way, the final weekend before the debt panel is supposed to finish its work. The committee is so far apart that no meetings have even been planned, and no one thinks success is even a possibility.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • bdop4 on November 19, 2011 10:47 AM:

    I'm just glad the repubs haven't taken one of the Dem's abominable "compromises." Their intransigence is saving us from ourselves.

    Let the super committee die a quiet death and start the debate on real solutions.

  • SW on November 19, 2011 10:50 AM:

    Just walk away Renee...

  • Danp on November 19, 2011 10:55 AM:

    For three billion dollars, the Republicans force Obama to change his "corporate jet" metaphor. Now that's fiscal conservatism you can trust.

  • a on November 19, 2011 11:04 AM:

    Republicans had previously suggested a plan which included $300B in tax increases but the dems nixed that as well.

    Obama is in election mode and wants to run against, amongst other things, a "do-nothing congress". Hence failing to agree on anything is a dem political objective.

  • martin on November 19, 2011 11:04 AM:

    Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), a House Democratic leader and a super-committee member, told The Hill after hearing the GOP offer, “Do we look stupid?”

    Well, you've been acting stupid. And I wouldn't take that as a no until there is a stake driven through the heart of the super committee.

  • c u n d gulag on November 19, 2011 11:11 AM:

    Earnie Broglio for Lou Brock, anyone?

  • emjayay on November 19, 2011 11:14 AM:

    They will offer a last minute plan which is twice as good, with a 240 to one cuts to revenue ratio. Obama will hail it as a great compromise.

    But I hope they just fail. Just simply ending the Bush tax cuts (you know, as promised in the original legislation) would be much better than any ridiculous Democratic compromise offered.

  • hells littlest angel on November 19, 2011 11:31 AM:

    Could there be a better outcome for this than failure? I can't think of one. Once it collapses, then the Republicans will be forced to find a way to stop cuts to the precious defense budget, which I suspect will be done by simply annulling this stupid debt reduction deal they fought so hard for. The debt ceiling won't need to be raised until 2013, the Republicans will get nothing, and they'll expose themselves once again, for those who may have missed it previously, as a bunch of incompetent ideologues who have no real interest in serving the public.

  • qwerty on November 19, 2011 11:33 AM:

    "Do we look stupid?"
    Maybe not today, but there's always tomorrow.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on November 19, 2011 12:04 PM:

    "Do we look stupid?"

    This is why Democrats lose. The question should have been: How stupid are Republicans to think we're not going to the public to make sure everybody understands just what sort of bad-faith, anti-middle class, debt-increasing offers Republicans are making in what is supposed to be a debt reduction exercise? Do they understand how much it puts them on the side of the 1%? Why can't they understand that?

  • jcricket on November 19, 2011 1:08 PM:

    Mr Clyburn, democrats took a huge gamble with offering a plan even worse than the Bowles Simpson plan. So, to answer the question, - yes, you look stupid. Even if you did not believe the Republicans would accept the deal, you were playing with fire to even offer it.

    So now that the masochistic ideology of the Republicans have kept them from harming us less than they would like to, let's all just fall back on letting the Bush Tax Cuts die their natural death.

    Do nothing and Let the Bush Tax Cuts Expire.

  • jcricket on November 19, 2011 1:12 PM:

    You know, I really meant sadistic, and not masochistic when referring to the Republicans. Clearly, it is the Dems playing with fire who are the masochists.

  • j on November 19, 2011 7:07 PM:

    Around 10 years ago George Bush started to borrow money for the tax cuts and to fund his wars, today not one penny has been paid and the interest is adding up, the tax cuts are still going strong also the wars. In the meantime the rich have shifted the jobs overseas and gotten richer, keeping much of the money in offshore banks. Also in the meantime the poor and middle classes have sent fathers, husbands and sons to war, many have died. Now it is time to start paying for all of this and who do the republicans want to pay - the poor and middle class of course. Do we know any republicans who lost sons in the wars? Not any rich ones I am sure!

  • phys ed on November 19, 2011 7:14 PM:

    Come on steve! Simpson-Bowles is strictly Simson-Bowles. The bipartisan committe failed to get enough votes to issue a proposal.Ddid you experiment with Koch and smile?