The Superfluous Super Committee

By:  Robert Kuttner

Once again, we have a familiar soap opera. Will the Democrats save the Republicans from crashing and burning as a consequence of the Republicans' own folly?

In this case the soap opera involves the so called Super Committee of Congress.

In August, in order to avoid taking responsibility for a default on the U.S. government debt, a needless crisis of their own making, the Republicans cut a deal under which a bipartisan committee of Congress had to come up with at least $1.2 trillion dollars of deficit cuts by November 23 (Happy Thanksgiving) or automatic cuts of the same amount would kick in beginning in 2013.

While several Democrats on the Super Committee have been in their usual posture of bending over backwards to consummate a deal, Republicans, until this past week, were insisting that taxes could not be part of the bargain -- thus killing any possible deal.

Then Republicans began taking a closer look at what would happen if budget cutting went on auto-pilot as a consequence of their own handiwork. Hundreds of billions in military cuts would kick in, starting in 2013. And over a trillion dollars in Bush tax cuts, mostly for the rich, would expire.

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