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Congressional Supercommittee fails to reach budget deal

admin | 11/23/2011, 10:49 a.m.

Although automatic cuts in defense spending and domestic programs are scheduled to go into effect as a result of the congressional supercommittees failure to reach a budget deal , those reductions are far better than what Republicans on the committee were proposing and Democrats were willing to accept. No deficit deal is better than a bad deal, and a bad deal may be the only kind this committee can reach, Orson Aguilar, executive director of the Greenlining Institute, said as it became clear the committee of six Democrats and six Republicans would not come to an agreement. There is no need to devastate vital programs for the elderly and other vulnerable Americans. The goal of the supercommittee, formally known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, was to reduce the budget by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. As an incentive to complete a deal, an automatic trigger was set to go into effect if the committee failed to reach that goal, slashing an equal amount from military and domestic spending. Under the most progressive GOP proposal, if it can be called that, Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) offered $300 billion in new taxes, a far cry from an equal split between spending reductions and new tax revenue favored by Democrats. What is more disturbing is that Democrats on the committee were willing to make concessions that would hurt their core constituents. They offered a proposal to reduce deficits by $3 trillion over 10 years that included $500 billion of savings in health care programs, higher Medicare premiums, and a new form of indexing inflation that would reduce cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security beneficiaries. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, 52.5 percent of the Bush tax cuts go to the richest 5 percent of taxpayers. The Treasury Department reports that extending the Bush tax cuts to the top 2 percent of taxpayers will cost $678 billion over the next decade. GOP leaders refuse to consider letting the Bush tax cuts expire. There is broad public support for requiring the wealthy to shoulder a fairer share of the tax burden. When Obama assumed office, the deficit was more than $11 trillion. An additional $4 trillion was added under Obama, some stemming from Bushs 2009 budget. Overall, approximately 75 percent of the deficit was incurred while Bush was in office. Where were the Republican voices then? Politicians being politicians, look for some more political shenanigans that will do everything except seriously tackle our fiscal problems. By George E.Curry, NNPA Columnist