Starting Over with a Super Committee

By Patricia L Johnson

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was created on February 18, 2010 by President Barack Obama.

Section 2 & 3 outline membership selection of this commission as follows:

Sec. 2. Membership. The Commission shall be composed of 18 members who shall be selected as follows:

(a) six members appointed by the President, not more than four of whom shall be from the same political party;

(b) three members selected by the Majority Leader of the Senate, all of whom shall be current Members of the Senate;

(c) three members selected by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, all of whom shall be current Members of the House of Representatives;

(d) three members selected by the Minority Leader of the Senate, all of whom shall be current Members of the Senate; and

(e) three members selected by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, all of whom shall be current Members of the House of Representatives.

Sec. 3. Co-Chairs. From among his appointees, the President shall designate two members, who shall not be of the same political party, to serve as Co-Chairs of the Commission.

Section 4 states the mission of the commission as follows:

Sec. 4. Mission. The Commission is charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. Specifically, the Commission shall propose recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015. This result is projected to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio at an acceptable level once the economy recovers. The magnitude and timing of the policy measures necessary to achieve this goal are subject to considerable uncertainty and will depend on the evolution of the economy. In addition, the Commission shall propose recommendations that meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook, including changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government.

The Commission released its final report in December 2010 with proposed deficit reductions of nearly $4 trillion dollars for the period of 2012 through 2020.

For some reason the findings of the Simpson-Bowles Commission have been put on the back burner in favor of a 12-member ‘Super Committee”[Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction] to be appointed by August 16, 2011. Each of the four Congressional leaders; House Majority Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry A. Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will appoint three members to serve on the Committee for a total of 12 members, evenly divided along party lines. Their mission is to come up with an $1.2 trillion in spending cuts for fiscal years 2012 through 2021.

Coming up with the cuts won’t be difficult, all they have to do is look at the Simpson-Bowles report for ideas – the difficulty will arise when they try to agree on cuts, or have Members of Congress learned something from the S&P downgrades, and subsequent sell offs in the stock markets?

No matter what changes are made by this new committee, U.S. voters should remember something. In the 28-year period from 1981 through 2008 we had Republican presidents for a period of 20- years and a Democratic president for a period of 8-years. During the 20-years when Republicans were in control of the White House there was only one year we had a budget surplus and that was in 2001 and was a carryover from the Clinton surplus. During each and every one of the other 19 years, the United States had a budget deficit.

I may be going out on a limb here, but it seems to me it would be more beneficial to our country to choose members of this new committee who are not members of the same political party whose line of thinking originally created the deficits.

© 2011 Patricia L Johnson

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