It must be a day of the week ending in y, because Congressional Democrats are floating a "Super Committee" debt deal that raises taxes by over a trillion dollars:
The [$2.5 to $3 Trillion debt reduction] plan was unveiled on Tuesday at a closed-door meeting of a special 12-member congressional panel, the so-called "super committee" that is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. It was the first formal proposal by Democrats on the committee and is aimed at galvanizing talks that are quickly running up against a November 23 deadline.
According to congressional sources, the plan includes a roughly equal mix of spending cuts and revenue increases; between $200 billion and $300 billion in new economic stimulus spending that would be paid for with lower interest payments from reducing deficits; and around $400 billion in Medicare savings, with half coming in benefit cuts and the other half in cuts to healthcare providers.
The indefatigable Philip Klein exposes the Medicare bit for the cynical piece of theater that it is:
What Democrats are doing is playing the exact same game as President Obama played with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, during the debt limit talks, when he made an offer Boehner couldn't accept, and then leaked it to the press. In both cases, the point is to feign a willingness to offer cuts to entitlements, and then impose unacceptable conditions on Republicans in attempt to paint them as being intransigent.
Bullseye. Democrats have little appetite for actually cutting Medicare, even though it'll be insolvent within a decade-and-a-half. They've already imposed half a trillion dollars in (probably illusory) Medicare cuts to "pay for" Obamacare (how uncouth of me to use such a vulgar term). This massive accounting gimmick has already handed the GOP plenty of fodder for political attacks in the recent past, so I'm very wary of Democrats' professed willingness to take a hatchet to seniors' benefits. Even if they're serious, that course of action still would not save that sinking program. That would take genuine reform, which the Left has gone all-in to oppose.
So rather than play their game and dwell in fantasyland, let's discuss the other two elements of this brilliant proposal. Step 1: Raise taxes by at least $1 trillion. Even Keynesian theorists don't believe in raising taxes in tough economic times, and President Obama himself went on the record in 2009 against hiking up taxes on anybody during a recession. If the economy has markedly improved over the last two years, at least 14 million Americans must have missed the news. Also, how will raising taxes on small businesses and investors help create jobs? That's a question Democrats never seem eager to answer. They'd prefer to mutter about "fairness."
Step 2: Spend more money. You've got to hand it to Leftists: They are relentlessly focused on their priorities. This is a deficit reduction endeavor, and part of the Democrat contingent's deficit reduction plan is to allot $300,000,000,000 in new, borrowed spending on projects that are quite similar to the ones that failed to stimulate last time they were attempted. How will they pull off this neat trick? By raiding the "savings" generated by the lower interest payments they project will materialize as a result of their tax increases, of course!
This is exactly why the only form of deficit reductions Republicans should accept is spending reforms and reductions. Democrats have absolutely zero credibility on the spending side of this equation. Every time they bring in more money, even if it's specifically earmarked for deficit reduction, they spend it on something else. And if you object, you're a rape supporter. Once that new spending drives the debt even higher, Democrats introduce an innovative new plan: Let's raise taxes! And the spiral continues. Democrats' opening bid here is a 1-to-1 spending cut to tax hike ratio. By the end of this latest crisis, they'll generously up the mix to 4-to-1 to demonstrate how very reasonable they are. Don't get sucked in, Republicans. It's the same old song and dance.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography