Barring a miracle, a gridlocked congressional super committee will fail to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions by its Nov. 23 deadline. The bipartisan panel of 12 legislators was formed this summer as part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling. And if the group fails to reach an agreement, automatic, across-the-board cuts will be triggered, including hundreds of billions of dollars from defense spending. But the super committee was always an exercise in futility, says Paul Krugman in The New York Times. The panel was "doomed to fail" from the start "because the gulf between our two major political parties is so wide." Cutting the deficit in any real way is "about fundamental values," not accounting, and Republicans and Democrats "have sharply different views of what constitutes economic justice." In the end, it's up to voters to give one party the majority it needs to implement its agenda. Here, an excerpt:
Maybe the idea was that the parties would compromise out of fear that there would be a political price for seeming intransigent. But this could only happen if the news media were willing to point out who is really refusing to compromise. And they aren't. If and when the super committee fails, virtually all news reports will be he-said, she-said, quoting Democrats who blame Republicans and vice versa without ever explaining the truth...
Eventually, one side or the other of that divide will get the kind of popular mandate it needs to resolve our long-run budget issues. Until then, attempts to strike a Grand Bargain are fundamentally destructive. If the super committee fails, as expected, it will be time to celebrate.
Read the entire article in The New York Times.
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