Engaging in self-caricature, the Republicans insisted on no new taxes, a posture they modified slightly to propose $250 billion in new revenues, some offset by their other proposals, including making the Bush-era tax cuts permanent. Democrats, meanwhile, irresponsibly resisted meaningful cuts in domestic programs. Hobbled by their dogmatic opposition to taxes, the Republicans were arguably more intransigent. But both parties deserve blame for the anticlimactic outcome of the committee’s work. The super committee was supposed to cut through the partisan pettiness that prevented a deal as part of the process to raise the federal debt ceiling. Instead, “super” proved to be SOP.
Can we please cut out this brand of horseshit? The facts: Democrats initially proposed a plan that, among other things, included $500 billion in Medicare and Medicaid savings and several hundred billion dollars in Social Security savings via a new inflation formula. Republicans responded with a package that was pure spending and benefit cuts. They followed that with a plan that included $300 billion in tax increases paired with an extension of the Bush tax cuts, which was very plainly a net tax decrease that exploded the deficit rather than reducing it. Democrats responded with a revised plan that included new revenues plus substantial cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other domestic programs. In other words, Democrats were willing to propose cuts in domestic programs. It was exactly the same dynamic that played out during the debt ceiling debacle, with Obama persistently offering up big plans that included significant entitlement cuts and Republicans flatly rejecting them because they also included new revenues.
Look: Democrats are no angels. They’re politicians, and they’re driven by the same grubby political motives that animate all politicians. But Republicans are “arguably” more intransigent? “Both parties deserve blame”? Come on. What exactly would Democrats have to have done in order to avoid this lazy formulation? How much compromise were they supposed to offer in the sure knowledge that every single one of their offers would be rejected out of hand if it included even a dime of tax increases?
This is ridiculous. When is the American media going to ditch its obsession with looking neutral at all costs and simply tell its audience the actual truth? Tomorrow would be a good time to start.