Thursday, August 18, 2011

Brookings Video: William Frenzel- 'Super Committee Members Will Vote Party Line'

Source:Brookings Institution- William Frenzel: former U.S. Representative and Ranking Member of the Budget Committee (Republican, Minnesota0

"William Frenzel: It really doesn't matter who is on the debt super committee because the members will vote along party lines. So, the debt will continue to mount, our economy will continue to flounder and they'll continue to jockey until the next election. More:Brookings." 

I don't have high expectations for what the Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, as far as them solving our debt and deficit issues. (I know that makes me unique) The Republicans on the committee will never go along with any tax hikes and I don't see the Democrats going along with any serious entitlement reforms even means-resting. Which is what round two in my opinion of what deficit reduction should look like. After they took on defense and discretionary spending in round one with debt ceiling deal. If the Joint Committee passed an entitlement reform that had a combination of means- testing in it as well as demanding that the wealthy pay more into it and take less out of it. 

This so-called committee (which is more like a committee on gridlock) should also look at tax reform that eliminated most if not all tax loopholes and lowered tax rates on most of the people in the country. Then this Joint Committee would be successful even if Congress didn't pass it. But the House Democrats on this committee are there to back up Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and not there to pass entitlement reform. 

And the House Republicans on the committee are there to back up Speaker John Boehner and Leader Eric Cantor and not to pass tax hikes even on the wealthy. So unless half of this committee coming from the House grows up and makes some tough choices, even taking on their own Leadership, nothing will get pass. And we'll be looking at automatic defense and entitlement cuts in January and 2012 another election year to figure out how to fix the problems. That the Joint Committee were unprepared and not capable of fixing themselves. 

As far as Senate Democrats go, I like John Kerry and Max Baucus on this committee. They are both on the Finance Committee and Senator Baucus is Chairman of that committee. If there were some practical Republicans on this committee, then maybe a deal could be cut. Again I believe tax hikes on the wealthy have to be part of any final deficit reduction package to get our debt and deficit under control. 

We can't get the necessary revenue to pay down our debt and deficit without tax hikes on the wealthy being part of the agreement. Without gutting entitlement programs and our national defense. But with the republicans that are on this committee this is simply not possible in this Congress, but that could change in 2013 in the 113th Congress depending if the President gets reelected or not and Democrats take back the House and hold the Senate as well. Which of course is not a given at this point. 

Democrats do have a better then 50-50 chance in the House. (In my opinion) And if the President gets reelected with a somewhat comfortable margin and winning around 35 States, I believe Democrats will hold the Senate and maybe pick up a couple of seats as well. But with the Senate GOP Leadership still being able to block most legislation. 

The most likely scenario from this Joint Committee on Status Quo, is exactly that: meaning nothing and best case scenario is that they pass entitlement and tax reform that looks controversial to both party's. Because the partisans in both parties want nothing and just be able to use this as an issue on the 2012 campaign trail.

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