Thursday, August 11, 2011

Super Committee Not So Super

The debt ceiling agreement requires the formation of a “super committee” of twelve Senators and Congressmen, who will be charged with finding $1.2 trillion in additional deficit reduction. To approve anything, the committee needs 7 out of 12 votes. If it fails, or if Congress does not approve its recommendations, automatic cuts will kick in to make up the difference between what the committee approves and $1.2 trillion. So, how is the committee stacking up? It’s not horrible.

The Good

Tax Pledge: Every Republican member has signed Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes.

Leftist Anger: Leftist bloggers like the Daily Kos are furious at Harry Reid’s picks, which they consider unwilling to defend entitlements.

Defense Sec. Leon Panetta: Democrat Leon Panetta just undermined the Democratic plan by saying that the super committee should not cut anything else from the defense budget. This will make it hard for Democrats to sell further defense cuts.

Pat Toomey (R) (McConnell appointee): Toomey is the ultimate Tea Party guy. He’s the former head of the conservative Club for Growth and a Tea Party favorite. In fact, he tried to unseat Arlen Specter before there even was a Tea Party. He’s a solid conservative. Interestingly, he says he would be willing to eliminate deductions and subsidies in exchange for lower income tax rates, but will oppose any sort of “big tax increase.” That puts tax reform on the table.

Jeb Hensarling (R) (Boehner appointee): Hensarling is a former chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee. He is also a member of the Budget Committee and works closely with Paul Ryan, who asked not to be appointed to this commission. His views are fairly similar to the Tea Party Republicans.

Fred Upton (R) (Boehner appointee): You might recall Upton from the lightbulb debate. At the time, we weren’t sure if he would be willing to cast off his moderate environmentalism and do a good job of shifting the Energy and Commerce Committee to the right. He has. And he should be a good player here. He seems interested in ending energy subsidies, particularly for wind and solar: “Since I am sure that the industry will never give up its free money voluntarily, now is the time for us to slash it on our terms.” This has freaked out environmentalists.

John Kyl (R) (McConnell appointee): Kyle is retiring at the end of the year, and wants to be Vice President. He has been a reliable conservative during his time in the Senate. He has a long record of pushing tax cuts and he walked out of the Biden talks because he felt the Democrats only wanted “job-killing tax hikes and new spending.” He also has suggested cutting deductions in exchange for lower rates.
The Bad
Dave Camp (R) (Boehner appointee): Camp is the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. I know nothing about him (which is a bad thing) except that he is a member of both the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership and the conservative Republican Study Committee. Being a member of the RSC is a good thing and he describes himself as a conservative on fiscal policy, but he has favored extending unemployment benefits and the auto bailout.

Rob Portman (R) (McConnell appointee): Portman is a former Bush budget director, which is not a good thing. He’s a freshman Senator from Ohio and I know little about him, except that he’s considered the weak link on the Republican side. He too has signaled a willingness to reduce tax breaks, but says that those cuts should be used to lower rates.
The Ugly
Max Baucus (D) (Reid appointee): Finance Committee Chairman Baucus is a wild card. He has shown an ability to act in a bipartisan manner when he worked with Chuck Grassley on a jobs bill which the Democratic left flank hated because it included tax cuts. But he also came up with Obamacare. He is likely to fight to protect farm subsidies and Obamacare. Interestingly, former Republican Senate Alan Simpson, who chaired Obama’s deficit reduction committee of which Baucus was a member, call him an awful choice. He described Baucus as being lazy, unhelpful and out of touch.

John Kerry (D) (Reid appointee): Kerry is a troubling pick. First, he lobbied to get on the committee because he’s looking for a legacy. That’s always a bad sign. Secondly, he has proved to be a standard liberal ass. Third, he just accused the Tea Party of being the cause of the downgrade and he made the Orwellian suggestion that the media should ignore the Tea Party. That said, he was one of the first to attack Obama’s Afghanistan policy, claiming that we should not stick with a policy just because it exists. And Alan Simpson strangely suggests that: “Kerry will do good work, he really will. I know him well.” If he wants a genuine legacy, then he will need to move right, but we'll see.
The Ugliest
Patty Murray (D) (Reid appointee): Patty Murray is the most cynical choice. She is the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. This means that her job is to protect the 22 Democratic senators who are up for re-election in 2012. Their current campaign strategy is to scare old people by slandering the GOP by claiming Republicans are trying to destroy Medicare. Of this pick, one Republican official said: “It is shocking that Harry Reid appointed his chief fundraiser to a committee that will be the central focus of every lobbyist in town.”

Pelosi: Pelosi has yet to appoint her three clowns, but you can pretty much guess they will be total losers.
At this point, Baucus and Kerry are where we will need to look to get a good deal. At the same time, we will need to watch Portman. My guess is that we end up with a little tax reform, the ending of some deductions and subsidies, a reduction in rates, a trimming of entitlement numbers without an actual plan to cause the cuts, and some minor discretionary cuts.

64 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - I never expected much out of this committee. I do agree that Toomey is a good pick. I worry about two picks from Michigan, a big union state. As you point out, that would be the underlying rationale for David Camp's auto bailout. Picking two from Michigan is a bit risky.

"JFK" who married Heinz Ketchup is a standard liberal ass, but he does love himself more than politics and may be looking for a legacy to replace his laughable presidential run.

If Portman caves, McConnell should run out of town on a rail. I expect Republicans felt they had to appoint someone who could "compromise." Notice, not one of Harry Reid's picks could be listed as "the good."

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

Bless their little hearts. Yes, bless every single last heart of the gutless wonders we laughingly call our representatives and senators.

Our representatives and senators have decided on the creation of this super committee in order to do what? Abdicate their responsibilities?

What is the problem? To me, this is just more smoke and mirrors. Is this to reduce gridlock? Or is it to hide the actual work so as to not be "bothered by" interested groups? That last went by the wayside when Leon Panetta said the super committee should not cut anything else from the defense budget.

Don't we have enough committees? It bugs me that Congress needs yet another committee to find the cuts. This is to hide themselves from interest groups seeking to forestall cuts in their areas. This is for the Democrats seeking reelection. They have to show that they are "serious" about cuts.

Nothing much will come from this committee, except a certain Democrat satisfaction of saving their seats come election day.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Portman is a strange choice because there were many better ones. Some of what I'd seen around the web was that Portman may be the guy most likely to do what McConnell wants, so he's McConnell's "voice" on the committee.

I agree about Kerry. I can see him going either way -- either as your standard liberal or by trying to reach across the aisle and get some huge deal to put on his resume.

The Michigan thing is a good question. Can they put national interest about protecting UAW workers? Don't know.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Committees have always been ways for politicians to avoid having to make decisions. This one will be no different. They can then go home and claim "I had no choice but to accept their recommendations."

But that may not work with voters anymore. For one thing, those opposed to cuts will throw a hissy fit no matter how small and no matter how the cut happens. For another, the rest of us are upset that the cuts aren't real.

This may actually be a lose/lose proposition this time.

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, for those watching London, the police have now come down hard on the "vigilantes" seeking to protect their property.

Well... some of them at least. They're issuing warnings that "right wing groups" are infiltrating these "vigilante" groups and this could lead to all kinds of horrible things like people being protected.

Think about that. Rather than stop the leftist violence, they are worried about stopping imaginary "right-wing" potential violence.

Despicable.

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

I do hope that this is a lose/lose proposition for the politicians.

Also, did you hear about Iran denouncing Great Britain for it's inhumane treatment of the rio.... (excuse me) protesters? Amazon.uk is doing brisk business with baseball bats, folding shovels and billy clubs.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I hope so too. I'd love to see the dems lose 15-20 of 22 seats! :-)

I did not see the Iranian condemnation, but it's well deserved. The British are acting like animals after all. I've heard that some protesters are getting as much as 2 days in jail!! Oh, the humanity.

Interestingly, the public is now demanding that the government cut off anyone who riots from public benefits. Seems like a no brainer to me. In fact, we should do something similar with rioters/flash mobbers here.

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

I agree with the cutting off of funds. I want to go one step further. Cut off all the funds of anyone on Welfare in that city if there is one flash mob. I mean even the ones who aren't flash mobbing. It is the only way to get the actual criminals where they hurt. The pocketbook. Plus it is a little payback for not keeping legs crossed.

CrispyRice said...

Thanks for the run-down on these guys, Andrew!

I heard this morning on the radio a great piece that put the debt and spending into "household-sized" numbers. It was much easier to get your heard around the numbers. It was something like -- you earn $26,000, you owe $35,000 on your credit card, and you just nearly killed yourself to figure out a way to save $300.

I'm looking to see if I can find the exact numbers to share, but in the meantime, check out this visualization -

http://usdebt.kleptocracy.us/

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, That will never work. We don't believe in group punishment.... except of taxpayers or conservatives.

T-Rav said...

Hmmm...so Reid appointed the woman in charge of creating talking points for Democratic senators next year and a guy who's been trashing the Tea Party at every turn recently. What could go wrong?

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, What stuns me is how much theater there is to this. To hear both Republicans and Democrats (especially Democrats) tell it, they just savaged federal spending. But in reality they didn't even cut half a percent of spending. What they did is like cutting pennies off the average person's yearly income.

I personally think the Republicans needed a better approach. They should have demanded "a simple 5% cut across the board." I don't see how the Democrats could have fought that when you tell people "who couldn't afford to cut $5 out of every $100 they spend?"

That would have resulted in much larger cuts.


Here's your link: LINK

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It's even worse than that. He appointed the woman in charge of shaking down lobbyist to handle the biggest lobbyist-infested project in history.... plus the effete french-lover who attacked the Tea Party... and the crazy, drunk uncle who misused his authority to get his mistress appointed the US Attorney in Bumbfuc..., er, Wyoming.

The Murray thing really shows the lack of ethics on Reid/Murray's part.

Writer X said...

"Committee" and "congressmen" in the same sentence leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Add the word "super" and it's even worse. And just $1.2 trillion??

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, The proper word before "Congressman" should be "ex" or "convicted."

What's even worse about the $1.2 trillion: that's over 10 years. So they are really only looking for $120 billion a year on average. That's chump change. The government should be able to find that just by shaking out government couches. But these guys will struggle mightily.

Ed said...

Andrew, Excellent analysis. I think your conclusion is right, we're going to get a mush of nothing. I guess this too will have to wait until 2013.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed. Yeah, I think that's the likely conclusion -- little will happen.

Ed said...

Andrew, On the London thing, it really makes me sad to see what's happened to Britain. At one point, they set the culuture of the world. Today they are a small island beset by savages. It's like "28 Days Later" was prophetic.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, It is a shame. England has really fallen apart. They need to fix things fast or they are going to become another Greece or Lebanon.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Bankruptcy is national debt reform put together by a blue-ribbon commission. More feelgood nonsense, which is unlikely to produce anything worthwhile.

Since Kerry coined the phrase "Tea Party downgrade," I don't think he'll be looking for any serious negotiations, let alone real financial reform.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Sadly, this isn't even a blue ribbon panel... it's more of a brown diaper panel.

rlaWTX said...

< sigh >

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That about says it all.

BevfromNYC said...

Nancy's picks are in
"Reps. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Xavier Becerra of California, who both are members of the party's House leadership, and Maryland's Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee. The choices bring racial diversity to the supercommittee because Clyburn is black and Becerra is Hispanic."


I believe Clyburn is the one who accused the Tea Partiers of shouting racial slurs. He is the on Breitbart challenged with a $100K reward to find any video proof. Yey...can't wait.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That's exactly what people expected. Clyburn screams racism everytime he speaks... he's a joke. He's the one who accused both the Tea Party and Bill Clinton of being racists.

Becerra actually voted against the stimulus bill because it didn't include mortgage forgiveness for minorities.

Hollern is Pelosi's lackey. She even created a new leadership position just so he could follow her around like a puppy.

Clearly, Pelosi isn't interested in a deal and the Republicans might as well not even tell these three clowns when they are meeting.

BevfromNYC said...

I have heard through the TP grapevine that there are those who are upset that Boehner didn't appoint any Republican women to the Committee.

AndrewPrice said...

It does seem like a bad PR move on his part. But I think that's going to be the least problem with this committee.

It is interesting that Pelosi didn't appoint any women.

BevfromNYC said...

I find it interesting that Pelosi didn't appoint herself...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I actually had that thought about all of them. If this is so important, then why don't they all want to be leading their teams? At the very least, they should have appointed their deputies. But again, they didn't.

I'm not sure what to make of it.

StanH said...

A committee in Washington, is as useless as teats on a boar-hog. Nothing will come from these statist bastards. We are going to have to keep firing them for several election cycles.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, On the plus side, it's better that they do nothing than do something else huge that we need to fix. Seriously though, at this point, it might be worth simply walling DC in and letting them all starve to death.

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

"If this is so important, then why don't they all want to be leading their teams? At the very least, they should have appointed their deputies. But again, they didn't.

I'm not sure what to make of it."

You can't be that naive.

On the face of this super committee, it is a good thing. People going through the budget with a fine-tooth comb and finding 1.5 trillion dollars to cut. It is a "GOOD" thing for us to see that they are doing the "People's Work". Who wouldn't want to be on that committee?

This committee isn't designed to do anything worth knowing. Notice that there aren't any big names on it. Notice that there aren't any names that would be hurt by it. Yes, I do see that Kerry is on it. What has he done that inspires anybody? He doesn't inspire Pelosi or Reid?

They could spend six months coming up with great cuts and no one will listen to them. If Boehner had chosen West? Maybe West could control that committee long enough to get something done. But Boehner and the other leaders want them to do nothing. So they supply people who won't do anything or be so partisan that they won't come up with anything worthwhile.

Smoke and Mirrors. It looks like they are doing something. In actuality, they aren't.

StanH said...

There is that Andrew, I like it. Maybe a Neutron Bomb, get rid of everyone, then we can go to the great museums, just a wrinkle.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, No, I can't be that naive. I can be THAT sexy, but not that naive. ;-)

I agree this is largely smoke and mirrors. I think their mission will be to make noises about fighting for their respective sides and then to find a way to declare deficit savings without actually causing the government to tax anyone more or spend less.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I'd be lying if I said the thought hadn't occurred to me lately. In fact, I was at my bank the other day and the teller was talking about the stock market and we both agreed that it would be best for the country if everyone in DC just vanished. Yep.

ArmChairGeneral said...

The tea party elected the Reps to do the job not to play Senate house sitters.

AndrewPrice said...

ACG, The problem is that the Senate still has a say in everything. Hopefully, after the next election, things will shift much further right in the Senate.... and at the White House!

patti said...

when i see the names "pelosi" or "kerry" attached to ANYTHING, i know I smell a rat. this entire super committee makes me uneasy. we'll see how it plays out, but, with those two one board, it wouldn't surprise me if the whole thing starts to sink.

AndrewPrice said...

patti, I can't see anything that involves Pelosi ever working out. Even if the plan was just do as much damage as possible, she would somehow cause the inverse. She's like the creature that ruins everything.

As for Pe pe Lepue, yeah, I don't put a lot of faith in him either. Maybe a shark can eat him the next time he goes wind surfing. :-)

Joel Farnham said...

Where is that shark that can catch a plane in mid-air? I think there is a job for him.

AndrewPrice said...

So you've seen Mega Shark v. Giant Octopus as well, have you? LOL!

That was an impressive stunt. They must have trained that shark for weeks to do that! ;-)

Ed said...

Careful Andrew and Stan, the feds will pay you a visit. They have no sense of humor.

Also, the NFL is back! Go Raiders!

AndrewPrice said...

Don't worry Ed, DHS knows we're not serious... right? ;-)

Raiders? Raiders? Hmmm. We may need to ban you! (just kidding)

AndrewPrice said...

Actually, Ed, I've tried to be a Raiders fan once (as an anti-Bronco's statement), but it never took. They just aren't what they once were.

Ed said...

Andrew, All we get out here are Bay area teams and I got sick of the 49ers in the 1990s. So that leaves me with the Raiders, unless I want to go to a sports bar.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I used to get the NFL package to avoid that. But it's become too expensive. Last year I was watching games online, but DHS shut those sites down. I don't know what I'll do this year, but I don't want to watch just the Broncos.

Ed said...

Andrew, What do you think of Tebow?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I like the kid a lot and I'm particularly not happy that he seems to be a target because of his Christian views. I also detect a lot of reverse-racism in the criticisms of him.

He looked ok tonigth. 6/7 and 97 yards and 118 passer rating. That's not bad.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. What's your take on him?

Ed said...

As a Raiders fan, I have to hope he goes down in flames, but I do likehim personally. It's hard not to like someone who remains so positive.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, True. Plus, from everything I've seen, he's worked for everything he's gotten -- nothing's been handed to him. And I am very impressed with his dedication. I hope it pays off for him and he proves the naysayers wrong.

Ed said...

That's true too. We don't have that right now, not since the JaMarcus Debacle. What a waste of human flesh that guy was.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, wow, that was amazing. I'm told that several NFL teams took him off their draft boards because they were concerned about that very thing happening, but I didn't hear that until after he imploded.

It's too bad because he had a heck of an arm. He just didn't have any work ethic.

What do you think about Cam Newton? I'm thinking bust.

Ed said...

Newton will fail. He's been trained in the wrong kind of offense, an offense that does everything wrong from an NFL standpoint. I think he'll struggle in his first couple years and will be declared a bust in the middle of his third.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I agree with that. I read a breakdown of the different types of spread offenses last summer and they pointed out that all of Newton's mechanics are bad.

BUT the same people who claimed that Tebow (the white Christian) can't succeed because of somewhat similar (but not as bad) mechanics, are declaring Newton the next Dan Marino.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The donks don't surprise me with their picks. They are never serious about reducing the deficit because the more debt we are in, the higher the unemployment (and the worse the economy) the better off they are...until we end up like Greece that is.

Their ultimate goal is to make the vast majority of Americans dependent on them, and to bring in 20 million or more new voters by legalizing the illegals we now have.

I'm always suspect of everything McConnell does. When the GOP held the Senate he was always giving in the the donks.
Sometimes I suspect he's a democrat operative.

Boehner's picks are better but this idea of a super committee was stupid to begin with and shortsighted.
Make everyone in the House and Senate go on record.
This lets most of the democrats off the hook for the most part.

Also, not sure if it's true, but I heard Thomas Sowell no longer supports the budget deal.
I'll do some searching later to find out why if it's true.

Maybe this committee is the reason or one of them.
Must have found something he either missed or that was hidden somewhere deep inside.
At any rate, anytime he doesn't like an idea I know it'll be very bad.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I agree. I think the Donks want to get as many people as possible hooked on government benefits because that means more voters for them.

On McConnell, I don't see him as a Democratic operative or sympathizer, but I do think he's old school Senate, which means that he believe in bipartisan ship and working together to find consensus. He's not ready for the more ideological world that is now moving into the Senate.

Actually, let me clarify -- he's not ready for the right wing becoming ideological.... the left has always already been ideological, they just claimed they weren't.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I think Boehner's picks are better too because of Portman. He worries me.

Pelosi's picks are obviously the worst.

If you hear anything on Sowell, let me know. I would be interested to hear if he's changed his mind.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Here it is, Andrew:

Phyrric Victory

It looks like my hunch was correct, although Sowell says it far better.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben! I'll check it out and get back to you.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Glad to help. Fortunately I found it right away so I must've used the right keywords. Usually it takes longer to find something because my keywords don't match most search keywords the first time, lol.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, He hasn't turned against the deal, he's upset that they have failed to sell it and let themselves be blamed for the whole chaos. I agree with that. The Republicans, as usual, let the donks run circles around them public relations-wise.

That is unfortunately our history. For on thing, the MSM is on the side of the Donks. Secondly, the Republicans just don't realize that they need to sell everything they do to the public and keep selling. Third, we keep shooting each other in the head... doing the left's dirty work.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Sorry, I should've stipulated that part of the deal.
We definitely need more saavy leaders because there was no good reason to include this.

And I concur. Too much in-fighting.
Part of that is due to McConnell not communicating with Boehner but notr all of it.

Unfortunately, there may be too much of a gap between the old, establishment republicans and the newer, more conservative ones.

When McConnell tried to pull the stunt he did it only deepened the (justifiable) mistrust that most conservatives have of the moderates and widened that gap.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, The in-fighting drives me crazy, as does the defeatism. Before anyone has even opened their mouths the left and right flank of our party is already surrendering and calling it a loss. It's time that stopped!

On Mitch v. the new guys, I agree. I don't think "the establishment" is ready for the new partisan world. They are playing by old rules that tell them that they can buy us off with money for our district. They don't understand that the Reagan Revolution has arrived in the people and we want genuine change. We want our government remade or we will destroy it. Mitch and the boys don't grasp that.

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