Surprise! Dems push tax hikes first in deficit talks
This is why the "Supercommittee" is a crock.
Democrats want tax hikes to be the first item negotiated in "super committee" deficit-reduction talks, trying to force Republicans to confront an issue at the heart of this year's budget fights, sources told Reuters.
The tough stance by Democratic members of the powerful 12-member congressional panel reflects the party's wariness that Republicans might try to sideline the issue of revenue increases in the negotiations.
"They've raised the idea of doing taxes first," a Republican aide involved in the discussions said on Friday on condition of anonymity.
The panel has the task of finding ways of cutting the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. If it fails to agree on a plan by November 23, automatic spending cuts will be triggered, beginning in 2013.
If Democrats hold firm to their demand for taxes to be discussed first, that could make it hard for the committee to make the tight November deadline. Congress is due to vote on the panel's recommendations by December 23.
Another congressional aide, who also did not want to be identified, confirmed that among Democrats, "there is an effort to try to discuss revenues" now.
Consider: Over the next 10 years the federal government will spend over $40 trillion. The idea that there is not $1.2 trillion out of that mind boggling sum to cut without raising taxes a dime is beyond belief. There is probably 5 times that amount that could be cut without raising taxes - if we had a congress and political parties with the spine to do it.
But we don't. Hence, the charade of this deficit reduction committee that won't accomplish anything so that the automatic cuts will be triggered in 2013. Except that those cuts will cause the interest groups affected to scream bloody murder, which means that Congress will reneg on their promise to cut anything by getting rid of the triggers.
By next year, we'll be back to square one. And "business as usual" will reign supreme.