It was highly unlikely that the legislative super committee would reach an agreement to reduce the deficit. However, this prospect does not lessen the resounding failure of this effort, which once again shows the paralysis that exists in Congress as a result of its members’ intransigence.
The refusal to use tax increases in the plan to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion in 10 years is what blocked any possibility of a deal. Even the GOP’s proposal itself, which agreed to raise $250 billion in new taxes, also included a drastic tax rate reduction on the wealthiest households from 36% to 28%.
Those who insist on not raising taxes are not arguing that they are too high, since the income tax rate has never been this low. Also, there have never been as many loopholes in the tax code that allow multinationals not to pay taxes.
In reality, decreasing the size of the federal government is the main reason for this policy. The point is taking funds away from the government, so it cannot operate social services or carry out regulatory functions. Otherwise, no one can seriously think that decreasing more taxes will generate employment and balance the deficit. This was proven a while ago.
The super committee’s failure is worrisome. Congress must still resolve urgent issues like extending unemployment insurance, expanding a payroll tax holiday and developing a new budget next year. On these issues, there is no possibility to act irresponsibly today to let automatic cuts replace lawmakers’ decisions later, as happened with the super committee.
Obviously, the opposing positions of Democrats and Republicans will be debated during the presidential election, and voters will be able to decide then. Meanwhile, the United States will continue without a sense of direction, gripped by the paralysis of legislative inflexibility in times when leadership and action are needed most.