Erika touched on this development yesterday, but it's really important stuff, so I'm circling back to it. The Super Committee's debt reduction deadline is weeks away, and Democrats have reportedly walked away from the negotiating table. National Review's Rich Lowry has the goods on the spurned GOP delegation's proposal
According to multiple sources familiar with the deliberations, Toomey’s framework would have lowered and locked in the top individual rate to 28 percent and lowered other rates commensurately. It would have (the numbers are rough) offset the revenue loss and raised $250 billion in new revenue by limiting the value of deductions, especially on the high end. It would have gotten another $40 billion with an adjustment to the CPI, moving to “chained indexing.” It would have raised another $110 billion through growth effects of the lower rates and another $100 billion through asset sales and the like. That’s about $500 billion in revenue...There had also been discussions about reforming corporate taxes to go to a 25 percent top rate and a territorial system. John Kerry, Max Baucus, and Chris Van Hollen had initially seemed open to the idea. That’s dead, too.
Up next, the cuts:
It would have been matched by $700 billion in cuts, which, when the supposed interest savings of $200 billion are counted, would have slightly exceeded the supercommittee’s target, clocking in at $1.5 trillion. (Again, the following numbers are rough.) The Toomey framework on spending was worked out with Baucus staffers and would have gotten $225 billion from Medicare savings (means testing and the like), $50 billion from Medicaid, $185 billion from reductions related to the chained CPI, $100 billion from other mandatory spending, and $190 billion from reduced discretionary spending (achievable through freezing the federal workforce). Republicans had raised more serious reforms, like premium support for Medicare and block-granting Medicaid, but it was clear those were non-starters.
Republicans offered a debt reduction blueprint that includes meaningful tax reform, needed spending cuts, and at least $300 Billion in increased federal revenue -- the piece of the puzzle the Left relentlessly focuses on. Yet Democrats just aren't interested:
Democrats [on Tuesday night] rejected a framework for compromise that would have included significant new revenues. They had sounded amenable to the possible deal, but their position suddenly hardened after going back to their caucus. It is almost surely an indication that they want to do everything they can to validate President Obama’s line of attack on a “do nothing” Congress. Sen. Pat Toomey had worked out a framework that he considered pro-growth and a reasonable first step toward fiscal restraint, while making a major concession to Democrats on revenue in the interests of getting a deal. Max Baucus especially had sounded open to it and a sub-group of the supercommittee had been discussing it seriously–but no more.
Republicans offered a compromise, which several Democrats seemed to embrace...until the party apparatus realized the deal would deprive The One of his 2012 strategy of running against a do-nothing "Republican" Congress. Can't have that. So Dems walked away and demanded Republicans agree to their list untenable demands, knowing they wouldn't and couldn't comply. How disgustingly cynical -- not to mention economically reckless. The world markets are already extremely jittery over the Eurozone meltdown, with Greece front and center. If Congress' special committee on the debt blows up, that sends a terrible signal to the markets about American leaders' seriousness of purpose. Democrats don't really care. Allahpundit directs us to a TPM story which tips the Left's hand: Basically, they think they can get major mileage out of painting the GOP as the obstructionist party by convincing the electorate that Republicans are intentionally sabotaging Obama's awesome agenda:
The new data suggests that about half the country, including a majority of self-identified independents, believe that congressional Republicans are using their political power to thwart Obama’s efforts to reduce unemployment, presenting Democrats an opportunity to make this argument more explicitly as the 2012 campaign moves forward — to undercut Republicans’ claims that Obama and the Dems bear full responsibility for the economy, and to make their pattern of obstruction a real liability for them.
It's sophistry, and it's economically destructive, but it may be good short term politics -- so full speed ahead. Flirt with GOP ideas behind closed doors, reject them publicly as a political strategy, then turn around and pretend those ideas never existed in the first place because...Party of No! Disgraceful. I'll leave you with this enraging nugget, also via Allahpundit:
“I hope that they cannot reach an agreement,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said, according to Capital New York. Some Democrats have suggested that they might have the upper hand in the negotiations because of the rare opportunity for deep reductions in defense spending — something some Democrats have wished for before.
What a golden moment: They can destroy any immediate prospects of getting a handle on an unwieldy national debt that led to our first ever downgrade, blame Republicans for it -- and as an added bonus, gut the military in the process. Aren't these guys darlings?
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
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