• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Supercommittee Dithers on Tax Hikes - But Where are the Spending Cuts?

    What’s a supercommittee to do? Total national debt just hit a new record at $15 trillion, an increase of approximately $700 billion since the Supercommittee’s August inception.  Hard as its members try, they just do not seem to be able to deliver the required $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction measures.  The situation has deteriorated so badly that even some Republicans are offering up tax hikes.  While this is precisely the wrong solution, it has created another insidious problem. Squabbles over the size of tax hikes are overshadowing the more vital issue: Getting federal spending under control.

    Federal spending, at about 24 percent today, is significantly over the average of 20 percent of GDP, but in a decade it will top 26 percent.  Within a generation it will reach nearly 35 percent of GDP. Before the end of the decade taxes will have recovered from their recession driven levels and will continue to rise thereafter.  Yes, Supercommittee, it’s a spending problem.

    So where are the spending cuts?  What will the Democrats accept?  Pathetically, nothing that will even begin to alter the crushing spending path the nation is on today, as they have said:

    • No to increases to the Medicare retirement age (actually the retirement age should be raised for both Social Security and Medicare.)
    • No to changes in the measure of inflation (eg chained CPI) used to calculate entitlement benefits including Social Security.

    Sadly, there are few additional changes on the list for them even to react to – and their so called bold changes from several weeks ago have all but dried up. The Democrats’ intractable attitude on entitlement reform defies logic.  The facts are simple, entitlements are going to generate European style debt levels unless they are reformed. Paying for it without bringing down their spending would require constant, crushing tax hikes on all taxpayers – not just the top 1 percent.

    The major entitlement programs – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – already comprise 40 percent of all federal spending.  But they are going to explode as the 78 million babyboomers retire, eventually crowding out all other spending. Entitlement reform is more urgent than any other deficit reduction priority for the Supercommittee.

    Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama must tell the nation what entitlement reforms they will actually accept.  They must be serious reforms like moving to a premium support system for Medicare.  Or moving Social Security to a simpler benefit that protects seniors against poverty. Or targeting Social Security and Medicare benefits to those who need them the most.  Reforms that can be found in Saving the American Dream.

    The Supercommittee should quit dithering and get spending under control.  Seriously.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Supercommittee Dithers on Tax Hikes - But Where are the Spending Cuts?

    1. West Texan says:

      Alison said "Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama must tell the nation what entitlement reforms they will actually accept.".

      That's asking the three stooges to desecrate their big government socialist cow as handed down by leftist demigods like FDR, LBJ, and Obama himself (SCOTUS to determine the latter).

      It's time to boot these clowns out and elect real leadership who'll uphold federalism's dual sovereignty, returning all domestic affairs (like social entitlements) back to the respective states.

    2. Lloyd Scallan says:

      The clear purpose of this "supercommittee" is nothing more than another ploy to deceive the American people into thinking Congress is actually doing the will of the people. For everything holy, just look at the members. These leftist and RINOs we picked delibertly NOT to reach any agreement which will give Obama another shot at blaming the Republicans for being "obstructionist". At the same time, decrease our ability to defend this nation. The really sad fact is the Repubs delivered the means to destroy their own party by agreeing to the committee in the first place.

      For the author of this article to suggest that Reid, Pelosi, or Obama would attempt to do ANYTHING but
      get Obama reelected so he can continue his agenda to drive this nation into total socalism, is a disservice to the readers.

    3. Mike says:

      Nothing useful will ever be adopted. To many lawyers and other thieves now run our govt and finance the elections. Lawyers don't spend they invest. That means they demand more in return than they spent. The fed is not fixable. Ending the fed is the only way to stop the thievery. We have 50 state governments to do the governing. We will regain our freedom only if we let the fed default. The common defense can be done through treaty between the states same as we do now with Canada for North America.

      • patricia says:

        In order to get anything accomplished,you have to have a bi- partisan government. This one is so one sided it reeks! I agree with Mike the best way to get something positive accomplished is by doing a thorough WH cleaning. This is one of those cases where it is better if the Fed gets smaller rather than mushroom. This crowd makes the Brady Gang look like kindergardeners,

    4. AD-RtR/OS! says:

      To cut spending would be to reject the basic premise of political life in DC:
      Buying votes with OPM!
      Perhaps they'd all have a better perspective on their task if they were faced with Samuel Johnson's alternative; and, if they're not careful, that could be their fates if this enterprise goes south.

    5. TimAZ says:

      Based on the actions of the regime. I would have thought that by now most people would be wise enough not to be fooled any longer by the implementation of super committees or czars for the express purpose of undermining the will of the people and marginalizing their representatives. There was never going to be any spending cuts outside of military spending. Yes the democrats on the super committee are working very hard to force a stalemate as they were chosen for and expected to do since the committees inception. The republicans on the committee are working hard as well but they will never get any of their ideas accepted and eventually will tire and give in as has always been the case for the last forty years. Sadly the republicans eventually break down and join the democrats and begin building their wealth through insider trading and every other method while pretending to be the opposition party. We must purge DC. It is our only hope.

    6. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Is it any wonder money and jobs are exported overseas with even the prospect of such tax rates? "Evil" rich people and big business can much more easily move their money out of country, but the middle and lower class cannot. When you punish the upper class, you punish the middle and lower classes too. The Democrats keep saying they are looking out for the little guy but their policies simply do not match their rhetoric.

    7. Stirling says:

      As long as the Fed can print money they will not make the hard decisions that is needed. Entitlements is clearly a ticking time bomb financially which the media and many in america have been turned into lemings to belive everything will always be fine. Once this lie becomes reality it will probably be too late and many will wish they had prepared for "what if.." but had not. Then I theorize that the government will have all the power over the people to offer them a trade… their freedom for security… Don't be a leming…

    8. Mutantone says:

      It is a farce to start with a "ten year plan" that still spends every year at the same levels will never balance. Return the USA to the Gold standard first and foremost would be a major step towards solution of the problem. Real value to the money not just a pretend paper currency that amounts to Monopoly money.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.