No Super Democrats On This Committee

August 10th, 2011 at 11:27 am | 35 Comments |

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How can we explain the Democrats who have been appointed to serve on the Joint Select Committee? (Commonly known as the ‘Super Committee.’)

Let’s play political “Jeopardy.”

Under Senate Democratic appointees to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, for $200, “Her job is to elect Democrats to office and provide her candidates with political fodder to use against Republicans.”

“Who is Patty Murray?”

Under Senate Democratic appointees to the JSC, for $400, “He is a classic northeastern liberal who ran for president and is opposed to Medicare changes.”

“Who is John Kerry?”

And, under Senate Democratic appointees, for $800, “He has publicly opposed fundamental Medicare reform, and chairs the relevant committee.”

“Who is Max Baucus?”

Well done.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced those Democrats as his appointees to the JSC.

Some had thought that the Senate GOP and Democratic nominees to the JSC would be Senators inclined to compromise on major issues like Medicare, pensions, and closing tax loopholes.  After all, the reasoning goes, Sen. Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell know that the nation’s fiscal future is a shambles and will try to offset what are expected to be House nominees who hold rigid views on taxes and entitlements.

Conventional wisdom has it that the JSC will be lucky even to produce a minimal debt reduction document.  If the first choices for the JSC are any hint, this time conventional wisdom is right.

Meanwhile, President Obama delivers a limp speech that sends the stock market down another 200 points on the Dow within an hour.

Some thought that pain, in the form of market spasms, would jolt the Congress and the White House to face reality.  Well, markets spasmed and that prompted nasty exchanges of press releases from all parties. Congress is still out on recess and the Congressional Budget Office soon will make its annual economic update and long-term financial projections.  Perhaps those numbers will galvanize real action, when analysts realize that poor economic performance has increased projected indebtedness.

Before readers castigate this dour outlook, let’s end on an upbeat note.

As a caustic analyst said recently:  “Well, the economy is so poor, and the Europe so chaotic, and the world in such turmoil, that interest rates have stayed way down.  Now if only folks could get a loan.”

As we said earlier, let’s play “Jeopardy.”  Washington sure is.

Recent Posts by Steve Bell

35 Comments so far ↓

  • wileedog

    “Conventional wisdom had it that the Senate GOP and Democratic nominees to the JSC would be Senators inclined to compromise on major issues like Medicare, pensions, and closing tax loopholes. After all, the reasoning goes, Sen. Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell know that the nation’s fiscal future is a shambles and will try to offset what are expected to be House nominees who hold rigid views on taxes and entitlements.”

    Wait, the ‘conventional wisdom’ is that because the GOP is expected to put hardline radicals on the committee the Democrats should have put people on it that are willing to cave to them?

    Wouldn’t the opposite be true – for the good of the country, shouldn’t the conventional wisdom be that the GOP should put someone on the committee actually willing to even talk about revenues?

    • JimBob

      We’re not in this mess because the American people aren’t paying enough taxes. We are on the brink because government has made promises it can’t possibly keep and Democrats refuse to live in the real world.

      • Elvis Elvisberg

        • Banty

          B-b-b-but Elvis, that’s m-m-m-MATH! It may even be F-F-F-FACTS!

          Don’t do that to the poor guy …

        • Xunzi Washington

          Oh good lord you are wasting your time on JimBoob. He won’t even reply to facts you post in an attempt to refute them. He just ignores what you say and keeps on singing his entitlements tune.

        • Elvis Elvisberg

          He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

        • JimBob

          Elberg, you fucking idiot. First you fuck up the format of every thread when you post you fucking charts. Learn to post links.

          One more time loser. In 1950 there were 17 working people for every retired person. Now there are only 3 working people for every retired person. With 75 million baby boomers retiring anyone that has a lick of commonsense and arithmetic skills can figure out that our current system is not sustainable.

        • Xunzi Washington

          Like I said, he just ignores whatever facts you present and just goes right back to singing his tune.

          Funny thing is, no one is denying the Boob’s point – that the programs need to be reformed in order for them to be sustainable. However, the Boob doesn’t want to address this question in an intelligent way, and doesn’t much care about facts and figures.

        • Primrose

          Sir. That is unacceptable language.

  • Oldskool

    I must have missed Obamas speech today. Yesterday’s rise proved the markets are looking at everything but speeches.

    The 3 Rs on the super committee are a match for the Dems, so, here we go again.

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    Mr. Bell fundamentally misunderstands the long-term debt problem.

    The long-term debt problem is, indeed, health care costs:

    (Yes, health-care costs, not aging:)

    But Medicare and Medicaid are doing a better job holding down costs than are private insurers:

    The problem is that we pay way, way more than any other country in the world, for nearly-equal-probably worse results:

    The consistent story of the last ten years of American governance is that the GOP stands four-square 100% behind atrocious ideas, and enough weak-minded Democrats go along with them to create catastrophe.

    (Consider the invasion and occupation of Iraq and the Bush tax rates).

    Baucus, at least, will go along with whatever awful idea the GOP comes up with instead of doing something that the experience of the rest of planet Earth & the analysis of the CBO shows will reduce the deficit– e.g., a public insurance option to compete with private plans:

    This is empirically based fact, rather than faith-based opinion, so no Republican in the nation can go along with it.

    • Banty

      Actually, though they can’t draw too much attention to it, the current Republican plan to address that is by denial of service by economic status.

  • TerryF98

    All appointees to the GOP side have already subverted their pledge to the constitution and instead have substituted the pledge to Norquist.

    No hope there then. Hostage taking is now the norm for the GOP.

    • Banty

      And these Dem appointees are clearly done from a defensive standpoint, after hearing talk of DeMint, etc., being the Rep appointees.

      Wish it were different, but I don’t know how else it could be. It’s an easy, wonderful world for one set of stakeholders to believe in, if they think they can count on capitulation of the other(s) to get there.

  • Xunzi Washington


    I can appreciate your desire to see the committee staffed with people ready to attack the problems and prepared the make the compromises to get that done.

    But seriously – did you think the Dems should have simply staffed the committee with such people, given the Republican steadfast refusal to compromise on anything? I could just see it now: 6 compromising Dems with 6 ideologue Reps. How to do this that would turn out?

    Recent history any guide?

  • Slide

    The only “compromise” that would have a chance in the full congress is a compromise agreed to by those that have taken hard lines against compromise in the past. Sort of like Nixon opening up diplomatic relations with China.

  • LFC

    So let’s see just how horrible these Democratic picks are.

    Patty Murray: Committee on Appropriations, Committee on the Budget

    John Kerry: Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Committee on Finance, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

    Max Baucus: Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Chair of the Committee on Finance

    Yeeeaah. That sounds like a weak list.

    • Primrose

      I agree it sounds like they put some of their senior and prominent people on the committee, as they should. Is the complaint that they might resist Republicans? The title sounded like a whiney middle-schooler too.

      I despair of our country while we have such childish, bad tempered leaders on the right.

  • Slide

    WASHINGTON — Republican leaders of the House and Senate announced their picks Wednesday for the “super Congress” deficit committee slated with finding about $1.5 trillion in savings. Their announcement comes a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed three Democrats to the 12-member commission.

    On the Senate side, Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) will serve on the commission, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced. Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) will represent House Republicans, said Speaker John Boehner.

    All six Republicans have signed a pledge to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform that they will not vote to raise taxes.

    I await your article condemning the Republicans Steve

    • LFC

      “All six Republicans have signed a pledge to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform that they will not vote to raise taxes.”

      To be fair, do you think you could even find 6 Republicans in Congress that haven’t?

  • LFC

    Now, onto Steve’s thrice repeated mention of Medicare.

    I swear that he, nor any Republican, can even do basic math. The Medicare deficit in 2010 was about $30B, and that’s with a payroll tax cut during part of its FY. It had more than enough in its trust fund to cover that (unless people are advocating that the U.S. not pay its obligations to Medicare, Social Security, etc.) The U.S. budget deficit in 2010 was $1.4T. That’s just over 2% of the deficit. If we use this regularly repeated figure of $1.4T, the Medicare shortfall isn’t even a significant digit. Plus the payroll tax cut will expire.

    So why do Republicans harp on Medicare when it has no significant impact on the $1T+ dollar structural budget deficit we have NOW? Because they’re more ideology than reality based. Plus they want to toss Medicare into an annual surplus situation, keeping the Medicare tax intact, and then “borrow” the money in order to preserve the Bush tax cuts.

    “Fiscally conservative Republican” is now an oxymoron. (And many of the loudest Republicans seem to be just plain morons.)

  • Smargalicious

    Nice smile there, Patty.


  • Slide

    Senator Patty Murray has come out for compromise:

    “Mr. President, we were elected to work for all Americans, not just the privileged few at the top. It’s time for our Republican colleagues to come to the table with flexibility not ideology. It’s time for compromise. It’s time for common sense.It’s time to ask everyone to sacrifice to meet a challenge we all face together. Thank you.”

    Senator Kerry has come out for compromise:

    Kerry told reporters Friday that Democrats are ready to make concessions on safety net programs but some Republicans have refused to budge from their demand that no taxes, even on the nation’s wealthiest, be part of that deal. . . “We need to reform Medicare,” he said. “And we need to deal with Medicaid over-expense. We’ve got to do it all, folks.”

    Senator Baucus is willing to compromise:

    “The choice of Baucus represents hope for some sort of compromise on entitlement and tax reform,” said Keefe Bruyette & Woods policy analyst Brian Gardner.

    So the three Dem Senators are all on record supporting compromise. On the other side? Well we have all six Republicans that have sworn an oath not to compromise on taxes. And your condemnation is for the Dems?????

    It is a strange strange world

    • Xunzi Washington

      But you don’t get it. The Republicans already HAVE compromised in the biggest way possible — they are simply sitting at the table. They’ve shown up.

      So from their point of view, it’s the Dems’ turn to give and give big.

      When one side sees “agreeing to negotiate” as the largest concession available for them to give, there’s a big problem.

  • ottovbvs

    “Meanwhile, President Obama delivers a limp speech that sends the stock market down another 200 points on the Dow within an hour.”

    You’d have to be very ignorant or very stupid to believe Obama’s speech had ANY impact on stock market gyrations yesterday. If I follow this absurd logic Obama was also responsible for the subsequent 650 point climb. It’s this sort of nonsense from Bell that has completely destroyed his cred with me (despite the fancy resume he appears to be losing it).

  • Danny_K

    They’re standard centrist democrats. I don’t get what the fuss is about. Does anyone doubt that the Republicans are going to provide three hardliners?

    EDIT: Hensarling, Camp, Upton, Kyl, Patrick, Toomey. Hardliners.

  • TerryF98

    Norquist endorses GOP picks for deficit panel: ‘Your wallet is safe’ (rich people)

  • valkayec

    Max Bauchus may not have been a great choice. According to Alan Simpson critique of Bauchus’ performance in the Simpson-Bowles committee, Bauchus failed to attend many of the meetings and when he did he just sat there and contributed little. Plus, think about his “compromises” on health care and fin reg. Simpson added that Kerry would bring something good to the table. What I’m wondering is why Reid didn’t choose Sen. Durbin who was on Simpson Bowles and on the Gang of Six.

    Of the GOP candidates only Reps Henslarling and Camp were on Simpson Bowles and none of the GOP Senators were on the Gang of Six.

    So, after months of research, work, study, thought and negotiation, it’s all going to be thrown out to start all over again.

    Also, Fed Upton, Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, is the ‘kill energy efficient lightbulbs” guy, and Kyle never met a tax break for the wealthy that he didn’t like. He was the Senator pushing to reduce cap gains on a total of 400 wealthy individuals – call them the uber wealthy. Toomey was the past president of Club for Growth, who as a Rep. advocated for financial deregulation (including overturning Glass-Steagell) and is considered to hold strong Libertarian values/stances. Pretty ideological group overall.

    What a bloody waste.

    For a more in depth look at the participants,

    New Poll from Gallup on Committee. Must see charts:

  • gmckee1985

    I find it insulting the GOP has to negotiate with these Democratic bozos who don’t want to do anything in regards to entitlements, don’t want to cut anything from the bloated budget (except defense of course) and who think raising taxes in a nightmarish economy is a good idea.

    • quanta

      1) Dems have put entitlements on the table during the deficit talks.
      2) Dems have agreed to cut the budget under the current agreement
      3) Dems don’t want to raise taxes until 2013

      At least get the facts straight.

    • Primrose

      And that right there, is the problem with the Republican party. They find it insulting to have to discuss matters with people who disagree with them. The very presence of someone who disagrees harms their ego. Then, clearly they don’t believe in democracy because democracy requires you not only talk to people who disagree, but you govern along with them.

  • bluestatepastor

    You find it “insulting” that the GOP has to “negotiate”? Then by all means, let’s vote the poor darlings out of office so they won’t be so terribly “insulted”. Assuming that they’re adults and not spoiled little poodles, however, they should know that negotiation is what must be done in a legislature in order for any work to be accomplished. Now let’s see them get to work.