Follow-Up: Supercommittee’s Chances For “Success”

I hope our meeting on the “supercommittee” will be helpful as we watch the process unfold between now and the end of the year.  To me, the key takeaways are:

  • Will the GOP budge an inch on taxes in order to get Democrats to go on the record as wanting to cut Medicare?  As we discussed, the House Republicans have realized they made a mistake in voting almost unanimously a few months ago for the “Ryan budget;” i.e., a budget that would privatize and phase out Medicare.  They may want to neutralize this problem so much that they would be willing to compromise on taxes.
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  • But, I highly doubt it.  As we also discussed, every GOP presidential candidate has gone on record opposed to any tax increases at all, as has, naturally, every member of the congressional Republican leadership and almost every rank and file member, too.
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  • Even if the Supercommittee fails to reach agreement, the lame duck Congress over the winter may still decide to cut a grand bargain with the White House.  Remember, Democrats have more leverage this time around because the Bush tax cuts automatically expire in January unless renewed and there’s no debt ceiling for the Republicans to hold hostage.
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  • Liberals are furious, nonetheless, that the Dems on the Supercommittee have reportedly offered to cut entitlements in exchange for tax increases.  Why?  For one thing (this is new information for us), the new Democratic proposal is more conservative (i.e., cuts spending more and raises fewer taxes) than the draconian Simpson-Bowles plan, the “Gang of Six” plan, and anything ever offered to the GOP by President Obama.
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  • Second — and this is key! — any concessions the Dems make now, even tentatively, the GOP can throw back in their faces later (I.e., “the Dems once proposed to slash program X, so now we agree; doing sobecomes a “bipartisan,”  “centrist” position, even though the Dems only meant it as a concession to be traded for something they wanted.)

 

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