Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Silver Lining Around a Cloud of Incompetence


When President Obama announced the assembly of a congressional "Super Committee," a team of our brightest politicians coming together to enact sensible reform to save our financial future, few Americans believed it would work. After months of toil and banter, the Committee proved the American people correct, retreating to the Cape or some isolated Southwestern ranch to celebrate a job not done. Ironically, there are reasons to celebrate incompetence.
The Committee's failure is nothing but another episode in the tragic soap opera that is American Politics. To most, it signaled the death of the last dwindling hope of bipartisanship. This is most likely accurate, and it makes sense to fear for the future of legislation and a further extension of executive power. That being said, Americans should recognize that the Committee's failure leads to automatic reductions in our budget deficit, the likes of which are probably more effective than anything the Committee could have conjured anyways! Let's take a look.
For those of us genuinely concerned about the reduction of the federal deficit, the failure has granted us an end to the Bush Tax Cuts and $1.2 Trillion of automatic cuts–amounting to a total decade reduction of $4.5 Trillion. The Republicans, who have made it their death wish to block any sort of bipartisan collaboration, will soon come to realize that they have just allowed $3 of tax increases for every $1 of spending cuts. Furthermore, around 65% of these cuts will come from the Department of Defense. Expect to hear a bombardment of excuses and apologies from the GOP over the coming weeks, as well as some creatively colorful commentary from Rush and Hannity.
Even though there are some positive aspects of the Justice League's expected failure, a more targeted, better-timed bipartisan effort could have much better. Although they bode well for our future, spending cuts and upper-tier tax increases (more so spending cuts) in the midst of economic stagnation are not ideal. The measures should be delayed, which is something everyone can agree on. We must only hope that our public officials return from vacation wake up to the pressing issues of today. To all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

-Abhi Kanakadandila

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