Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Joint Committee Aftermath, What's Next

Joint Committee Statement

Yesterday, the Co-Chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Representative Jeb Hensarling and Senator Patty Murray, released a very brief statement which began with this paragraph: "After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline."

Three short paragraphs follow, the last of which -- in its entirety -- thanks the Committee and other staff.  This 270-word statement (less than 200 words without the last paragraph) is all they could agree upon.  While our hopes were that Democrats and Republicans could come together like statesmen on behalf of America, it is abundantly clear that this small 12-member group could not.  Clearly, it will be impossible for the 100-member Senate and the 435-member House of Representatives to come to any agreement.

Hopefully, all of our cards, letters, petitions, and email messages drove the point home that the Republicans could not protect their wealthy friends at the expense of Medicare beneficiaries and Social Security recipients.

Again, as we have said before, maybe this is for the best; Medicare seems like it will be better off under the cuts required if the Joint Committee "failed."  It certainly sounds like the threat that hung over the Joint Committee is having its desired effect now that it has given up.  Cuts to pre-paid public benefits, cuts to the military, and more -- all will have a profound effect and now are beginning to scare people.

Democrats demonstrated that they were willing to make extreme political sacrifices -- sacrifices that so many of us disagreed so strongly with.  Republicans merely sang the same tired song with the same tired refrain, resolutely protecting their rich pals and never wavering.  Finally, the Republicans went back one last time, and finally the Democrats just said "no."

Thank You Democrats

Remember?  At the last minute, Republicans tried still again to pressure the Democrats into giving even more?  Finally, the Democrats refused.  "Inside-the-beltway pundits have already begun to decry the so-called 'failure' of the super committee to hammer out an agreement that would have almost certainly resulted in huge cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits for ordinary Americans."

"Those ordinary Americans should applaud the Democrats' refusal to buckle to Republican demands for Draconian cuts in these critical middle class programs.  In addition, Democrats insisted that Congress' top priority at this moment should be creating jobs, and that the only fair way to bring down future deficits is to end tax breaks for the wealthy and, once again, require that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share."  MUST READING.


Reaction from Max Richtman, President/CEO of National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare:  “The super committee’s so-called 'failure' to sign off on yet another bad deal for average Americans could be the first indication that Washington has begun to listen to the American people who’ve said they don’t want their benefits cut for deficit reduction.  They’ve finally realized that it is wrong to get our budget house in order by targeting the very people hurt most by this difficult economy."

The Republican Reality-Free Zone


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