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December 03, 2010

Debt Commission Fails To Pass Recommendations

Pretty much just a technicality that doesn't really matter much.

Eleven of the 18 members of President Obama's fiscal commission voted Friday to embrace a bipartisan commission's controversial plan to slash deficits by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade -- too few votes to command quick action in Congress, but far more than even the panel's most ardent supporters had predicted just a few weeks ago.

...The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), also voted yes, and Durbin predicted that Conrad would use the commission's report as a basis for constructing the party's next fiscal blueprint early in 2011.

Incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has pledged to do the same, even though he and the two other House Republicans on the panel voted against the package. Their opposition was based primarily on the commission's implicit embrace of Obama's health-care overhaul.

Via Philip Klein of The American Spectator, here's how the votes broke down.

I get why Republicans voted yes on this, it was kind of free vote that had no real meaning but the alternative, voting no after spending a year campaigning on cutting spending and reducing the deficit, would have been problematic.

Like any plan of this nature (crafted by 'wise-men' from both parties invested in big government) there's far too much emphasis on taxes (one trillion in new revenue by 2020) and not nearly enough on non-defense spending cuts and entitlement reform.

There are some basic problems with the revenue portion of the plan.

There's really no way to guarantee that any money raised (assuming it materializes which is not a given) will be spent on reducing the debt and not new spending.

More problematic to me is the number...one trillion dollars. That's not even enough to cover the eventual costs of the DemocraticObama so-called 'stimulus' which will clock in at $3.27 trillion.

Personally, any plan that doesn't start with cutting discretionary spending back to pre-Obama levels and then cut from there is a non-starter.

Of course, all of that is just a drop in the bucket compared to what we are going to have to do with entitlements since that's where the real money and problem is.

So no, the debt commission didn't get enough votes to force a vote in the Senate but nothing is stopping Harry Reid from bringing it up this afternoon for a vote (it's good to be the Majority Leader) but it was never designed to be voted on. Democrats (and yes Republicans) have run up astronomical spending numbers, they aren't about to let a handful of 'commissioners' undo it all with one vote.

Now that this charade designed to give cover to Democrats for their two year long spending binge in the run up to the midterms is behind us, we can get on to the serious business of building a plan that can actually get some votes in Congress. I have my doubts that's even possible but we'll see.


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posted by DrewM. at 12:45 PM

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