Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Super-committee fails - shock!

The Guardian reports that "...the 12-member committee announced on Monday that after months of talks it was unable to bridge the deep ideological divide between Republicans and Democrats."

Who is surprised?
Republicans are concerned that the automatic cuts in military spending, amounting to $600bn over 10 years, will severely damage the Pentagon's ability to maintain national security.

The cuts in military spending will be matched by $600bn in domestic spending.

Defence secretary Leon Panetta has described the size of the military cuts as "devastating".

Two Republican senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, issued a joint statement saying: "As every military and civilian defence official has stated, these cuts represent a threat to the national security interests of the United States, and cannot be allowed to occur."
Substantial military cuts? Excellent!!
The deadlock on the supercommittee was blamed by the Democrats on a long-time Republican political lobbyist, Grover Norquist, who leads a campaign against tax rises. Norquist has persuaded Republican members of Congress over the years to sign pledges never to raise taxes. All six Republicans on the committee had done so.

If they had agreed to tax rises, they would be open to charges of reneging on the pledges they gave to Norquist, potentially damaging when they stand for re-election.
But the Repubs knew this when they decided on those 6 members of the committee? The answer was decided then, obviously.

So, no tax-rises but automatic spending cuts. Just what the 99% asked for? Well, some of them certainly did, not that you'd get that impression if you asked OWS......

But again, it's more evidence of how divided the nation is, how divided the people and their representatives are. Conspiracists like to make out that there's some great conspiracy subverting democracy and moving events to some predetermined end. But the reality is people cannot agree amongst themselves, neither can the representatives they elect. It isn't that everyone agrees on everything - rather people strongly disagree across the aisles, even though they're politically very close (there's no raving socialists in the Congress, for example).

The super committee came about because of an inability to agree over the budget, re the debt-ceiling (some wanted cuts, some opposed cuts). So it's no surprise the committee can't agree a few months later (and why should a committee of 12 decide it anyway?) 12 can't agree, 300 million can't agree. This is not evidence of a coherent 99%. Not at all - they are split, near 50-50.

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