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Deadlock: Super committee on deficit appears headed for failure

By Longview News-Journal
Aug. 13, 2011 at 11 p.m.


Given that it has yet to convene, perhaps we would be jumping the gun to declare the congressional super committee on cutting the deficit a failure.

But that's sure how it looks.

As we feared, rather than appointing lawmakers who might be willing to cast aside partisan differences and who would work to achieve common American goals, legislative leaders seem largely to have stuck to their failed formula of drawing lines in the sand. And it appears the panel will wind up sharply divided over the fundamental issues of preserving Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, and raising taxes.

So the super committee starts pretty much at the same place Congress left off: deadlocked.

The panel must agree by Nov. 23 on an additional $1.5 trillion in debt savings over a 10-year period, either by cutting spending or raising revenues or, most realistically, both. The deal then would have to be approved by Congress before Dec. 23. Otherwise, $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts - evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending - would automatically kick in.

Allowing that to happen would be cowardly and poor public policy. But given past performance, we will not discount that it could.

America deserves better.

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