Why the Super-Committee Talks are Failing
You may have seen headlines yesterday about Republicans on the so-called super-committee offering Democrats a new debt-reduction offer. At a certain level, that seemed encouraging -- the GOP co-chairman of the panel had said just a few days ago that there would be no other offers.
You may have also noticed that Democrats turned down the proposal. Is it because Dems are unwilling to compromise? Obviously not -- Dems have been so eager to strike some kind of deal that they "offered a plan that moved significantly toward the Republicans and a considerable way beyond the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson and Gang of Six plans, which conservative senators like Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo had embraced." The GOP refused.
The problem, of course, is with the substance of the new Republican plan. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Paul N. Van de Water summarized the latest GOP proposal, but on the table late yesterday.
Republicans on the supercommittee have made a new offer that would reduce deficits by $640 billion over the next decade, according to news reports.... The Republican offer consists of roughly $542 billion in spending cuts and $3 billion in revenues, meaning the ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases in the plan is 181 to 1. These measures would also produce nearly $100 billion in debt-service savings. Democrats promptly rejected the new Republican offer as unbalanced.
When one includes the $900 billion in discretionary spending cuts already enacted in the Budget Control Act, the plan's total deficit reduction rises to about $1.445 trillion, and its ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases rises to 481 to 1.
Hmm. So, Democrats would give up $542 billion in spending cuts and Republicans would give up $3 billion in revenue -- not a penny of which would come from additional taxes on anyone, but rather, the end of a tax break currently enjoyed by corporate jet owners.
This, in the minds of GOP committee members, is a "compromise."
Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), a House Democratic leader and a super-committee member, told The Hill after hearing the GOP offer, "Do we look stupid?"
Republicans should take that as a "no" to the offer.
This is, by the way, the final weekend before the debt panel is supposed to finish its work. The committee is so far apart that no meetings have even been planned, and no one thinks success is even a possibility.