Americans who follow the workings of our government -- even if only casually -- presumably know that the Republican Party took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2010 elections. Fewer likely know that the Republican-controlled House gained a veto over federal spending on March 4, 2011.
Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson inputs on how we got here and how to get out in this colorful video.
Cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal budget, supposedly the goal of the Super Committee, sounds daunting. When you put those numbers into the context of the total federal budget and our exploding national debt, however, you realize it shouldn't be so hard. The Committee's real challenge—and it's a doozy—is a political system that discourages common sense.
"I have great respect for each of you individually, but collectively I'm worried that you're going to fail -- fail the country," former Bill Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles said last week to the 12-member joint congressional supercommittee tasked with cutting the federal deficit by some $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
If anything good came out of the deal House Speaker John Boehner cut with President Barack Obama to increase the limit on the federal debt by as much as $2.4 trillion, it was that the legislation enacting that increase also provided that by the end of this year both houses of Congress must vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Anyone wondering why the recovery went nowhere and will go nowhere need only look at who was advising president Obama and who has his ear now (Christina Romer and Tim Geithner, respectively).
Whoever takes the oath of office as President of the United States in January of 2013 will inherit an economy facing multiple challenges.
In a budget nearing $4 trillion a year, it strains incredulity to hear members of the so-called "supercommittee" say they're still no closer to finding $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade.
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