Speaking only for myself and welcoming debate from my colleagues at the Independent Women’s Forum, I for once want to applaud something President Obama said yesterday.
No, I didn’t care for the president’s nasty (but entirely predictable) tone when he addressed the press yesterday after the super committee announced that it had failed to reach a deal.
This hectoring pose would have been more convincing if President Obama hadn’t skipped town while the committee was deliberating on the fiscal future of the nation.
Nevertheless, I give the president two thumbs up on one aspect of what he said yesterday: the president said that, if Congress tries to get around the across-the-board budget cuts triggered by failure to reach a deal, he will say one word: “No.”
Sure, I really, really hate the prospect of cuts in the defense budget and I believe that the president’s stance is likely occasioned mostly by his desire to run against a “do nothing” Congress. But in essence, his "no" is right because sometimes you’ve got to be able to take people at their word.
You’ve got to believe that people who serve in Congress have at least some nodding acquaintance with the truth.
Congress promised automatic cuts in the event, always highly likely, that the super committee could not find $1.2 trillion to trim from the budget over ten years.
If they go back on this, it will show, if any further proof is needed, how essentially unserious Congress is about the fiscal issues confronting the country. An editorial in the Washington Examiner says that …
…it’s difficult not to view the whole super-committee process as a charade intended only to make it appear that Washington was "doing something" to control federal spending, and in the process protect the jobs of incumbents of both political parties….
The L.A. Times had a wonderful way to describe the creation of the super committee: “conceived in cowardice.” It was a way for Congress to avoid having to make hard decisions by asking a few people to make the hard decisions for them. Or not.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Republican member of the super committee, has a good piece in today’s Wall Street Journal on why the committee failed. He says that it is because Democrats refused to take anything less than $1 trillion in tax hikes or to make meaningful changes in health-care entitlements.
It was always—and only—a case of which side would blink. The Republicans at least batted their eyes with Hensarling and Senator Pat Toomey’s offer to raise revenue by ending deductions and loopholes in exchange for making the Bush tax cuts permanent. It was not enough the Democrats. These automatic cuts are far better than tax hikes. That is a victory of sorts.
Take heart, if you fear the cuts, from a piece on The Corner by Veronique de Rugy, a Mercatus Center economist, who argues that sequester (the process by which the cuts will be made) is not such a bad thing. She ends with some upbeat words:
Now, it’s time for Congress to get serious about overspending and get to work (hope springs eternal). This failure gives lawmakers an opportunity to do the right thing and implement the fiscal reforms that could change the path we are on: That’s entitlement and tax reforms. And of course, because I always want more, I would appreciate if they could get moving on institutional reform too.