Super Committee Ignores Root of $15 Trillion Nightmare

November 21, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, should have sent shivers down the spines of all Americans.  For it was at the close of Business that the total debt of this nation surpassed the $15 trillion mark for the first time in its history (scope of borrowed federal spending), the precise figure being $15,033,6097,255,920.32.

If this figure is too large to engage in thought, then consider this Census Bureau estimate: With approximately 76,089,0945 families in the U.S. in 2010, the federal debt equals approximately $197,479 for each American family.

Other facts for consideration include:

1. The U.S. Debt has increased approximately $700 billion since the appointment of the super committee in August.
2.  Overall the federal debt has risen $4.41 trillion (4.5%) since Obama took office and $6.36  trillion (73%) since Democrats took control of Congress in 2007.  
3.  Today’s GDP is significantly over the average of 20%; unless spending is reigned in within a generation it will reach nearly 35% of our GDP.
4.  Taxing the rich would not even begin to raise the revenue necessary to cover the deficit.  The top 1% already pays 36.7% of federal income taxes, even though they only earned 16.9% of all income.  
5.  The U.S. debt ranks the fifth highest among the world’s largest economies in debt as a percentage of GDP, 95% in the first three months of this year.  Nations ranking higher are Japan, Greece, Thailand and India.  
Facing an unprecedented $15 trillion of debt with future projections foretelling an even more frightening scenario, what are we to make of the dithering of the super committee set up in August as a condition that the debt ceiling could be raised at that time?
By Thanksgiving the 12 members of the congressional super committee are required to reach an agreement on a plan to achieve $1.2 trillion in deficit reducing measure, a mere drop in the bucket when measured against this nation’s total and ever growing debt level.
With little time left before the Wednesday, November 23rd Thanksgiving deadline, it boggle the mind that super committee members, of which there are six from each party, cannot manage to deliver the required $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.  
Triggers inserted in the bill to reduce defense spending by $600 billion and domestic spending by the same amount, should committee members be unable to reach a bi-partisan agreement of $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years, were meant to inspire committee members to reach a bi-partisan agreement, but there is a catch 22.  Even if the two triggers were enacted, none of the defense cuts (opposed by Republicans) or the domestic cuts (opposed by Democrats) would take effect until January 20, 2013, conveniently after the 2012 elections.
Republican committee members seem unwilling to fight for real reductions in government programs and departments.  Why should they when Republicans in Congress are about to approve an Agriculture spending bill that raises spending on Food Stamps to an unfathomable $80.4 billion, double its funding level from just t three years ago?  Some Republicans members have even been amenable to tax hikes.   
Democrat committee members, in defying logic, are intractable on entitlement reform.  The nation’s major entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — already comprise 40% of all federal spending.  It’s not difficult to imagine what will happen when the 78 million baby boomers retire.  Eventually baby boomer retiree payments will crowd out all other spending.
Entitlement reform should be more urgent than any other deficit reduction priority for super committee members, yet Democrats stand against increases to the Medicare retirement age and making changes in the measure of inflation used to calculate entitlement benefits including Social Security.
On Friday, November 18th, Democrats openly displayed their lack of seriousness in curbing their impetus for spending when a Republican House proposal  to require annual balanced budgets fell 23 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment. Democrats overwhelmingly opposed the proposal, arguing that such a requirement would force Congress to make devastating cuts to social programs.
So far not even warnings by economists of dire consequences, should an agreement not be reached, been able to provide the urgency to bring both sides closer to an agreement (The $1.2 trillion called for amounts to just 0.7% of the gross domestic product in 2013.).  A Morgan Stanley analyst predicted earlier in November that failure to act could potentially provide S & P with a pretext to downgrade the U.S. further from AA+ – AA.  
In the meantime this nation is facing perennial trillion dollar deficits, massive unfunded liabilities from entitlement and burgeoning growth in future interest payments.
The Heritage Foundation has called upon the super committee to drive federal spending down — including fixing ever-expanding entitlement programs — toward a balanced budget, while preserving our capability to protect America, and without raising taxes.
Heritage vice president David Addington contributed the following on November 18th in the Morning Bell:  America’s $15 Trillion Nightmare:  


“The super committee has a chance — one chance — to get it right.  More taxes means more government and a worse economy.  The super should recommend legislation that rests on three pillars (1) cut-non-security spending, (2) maintain defense capabilities, and (3) do not hike taxes. . . But getting there will require serious leadership, action, and an understanding that doing business as usual will not bring this nightmare to an end.” <> …

Sensible and serious leadership is definitely lacking.  Those with their hands on the wheel in Washington, D.C., rather than rectifying the problem, seem content to ignore the crux of the problem — SPENDING!   
As a campaign issue, shamefully it is a plus for Democrats if the super committee should fail to reach its goal, for failure becomes yet another arrow in the Democrat’s quiver in their on-going game plan to blame Republicans for the failure of their own policies to recharge the economy and create jobs in the elections of November, 2012.


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