Monday, November 21, 2011

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Image credit: Congressional Budget Office (via Beat The Press)

In yet another example of how wonderfully government is working for us lately, Reuters explains how the congressional Supercommittee has solved all of our economic problems:
Lawmakers abandoned their high-profile effort to rein in the country's ballooning debt on Monday in a sign that Washington likely will not be able to resolve a dispute over taxes and spending until 2013.

Lawmakers abandon deficit-cutting effort
First, let me take a side trip here while I get all Dean Baker on Reuters' ass and point out how loaded the words "ballooning debt" are. Ballooning, are you serious? The debt is still less than our GDP, which is about the only valid way of measuring this kind of thing.That's a lot, but it would have been a hell of a lot less had we not been running deficits all through the Bush Administration, who gladly told us that we could both lower taxes for the rich and finance a couple of wars, and the Obama Administration who told us the same thing. The only difference is that the Obama Administration told us this in such a way that they made career "progressives" all warm and sticky inside, whereas the Bush Administration were just a bunch of feckless warmongers.

As that Dean Baker link points out, interest on that debt is a small fraction of GDP, easily affordable. I wish I could have gotten a mortgage for my house that only consumed three percent of my income.

But anyway...

I suppose that if I'd bothered to put down at the time what my expectations were when this committee was announced, it would be that they would debate endlessly how hard to screw the 99% of us who aren't financing their campaigns. Then, I probably would have predicted, they'd have settled on not screwing us quite as hard as they could have. In that latter part of the prediction, I appear to be in error. Even when the parameters of the solution were restricted as I suspected they would be, the collection of assembled legislative geniuses couldn't agree.

Image credit: Mark M./Occupy Together

I feel so silly now.

They could have agreed to repeal the Bush tax cuts, and then get our armies out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and could have completely eliminated the deficit. That, however, would have taken disappointing the people they work for. So we knew that wasn't going to happen. Left with no viable way of reducing the deficit without either committing political suicide or making themselves ineligible for lobbying gigs after their days in Congress were over, they decided to do nothing.

Go figure.

In the end, they behaved the same way as the larger, but still remarkably shallow gene pool they came from had. While it wasn't what I would have predicted, it's an outcome that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

No comments: