A congressional super committee charged with slashing future deficits by more than $1 trillion is barreling toward its Nov. 23 deadline. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the panel's Democrats and Republicans are still deadlocked over tax hikes. President Obama is urging leaders from both parties to give a little, and the bipartisan panel's Republican co-chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, says he hasn't "given up hope." If the 12-member super committee can't reach a deal by Nov. 23, $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts (to kick in beginning in 2013) will be triggered — half of it in defense spending. With the super committee stalled, some members of Congress are already debating whether they can undo parts of that trigger. Is there any chance the super committee will surprise everyone and get its job done?
The super committee is a bust: This panel is headed for "epic" failure, says Debra Borchardt at The Street. Our leaders will probably end in "gridlock" over taxes — Republicans don't want any hikes and Democrats want deficit reductions to be a mix of spending cuts and new tax revenue. Of course, the committee members might ask for an extension, or strike a smaller deal, but they appear incapable of delivering "genuine long-term deficit reduction."
"super committee setting up for epic fail"
The panel will put off deciding — Congress always does: This is a familiar drama, says Dunstan Prial at Fox Business. "There will be dueling press conferences. There will be last minute, all-nighter negotiations." But in the end, the members of the super committee are just going to punt (the committee itself was only formed this summer so Congress could "evade and delay responsibility" over raising the debt ceiling). The defense cuts will be triggered "with much fanfare," but Congress will likely find a way to undo them later.
"super committee doomed to fail from the get go"
The sooner the super committee vanishes, the better: We'll all be better off once the super committee gives up, says Robert Kuttner at The Huffington Post. "Its collapse will leave the Republicans exposed as a party with no plan for economic recovery other than more tax cuts for the rich and cuts in social insurance that most Americans value." That will make "the whole question of what programs to cut and what taxes to raise" the focus of the 2012 elections, making it a fight Democrats can win.
"The superfluous super committee"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- The week's best photojournalism
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week