United States

Nov 22, 2011

US debt: Obama threatens veto after supercommittee fails

Barack Obama has upped the pressure on Republicans to agree to some tax increases as part of US deficit reduction by threatening to veto any attempt to undo automatic cuts to the military.

Closed door supercommittees can now be thrown in the refuge pile of US democratic systems that, in today’s Washington, no longer function in the interests or will of the public. Or indeed function at all.

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10 thoughts on “US debt: Obama threatens veto after supercommittee fails

  1. michael r james

    [As a consequence it couldn’t agree on the necessary US$1.2 trillion in cuts and an automatic trigger will kick in making those cuts equally between Defense and so-called discretionary spending that includes housing assistance, medical programs and highway repair.]

    This seems to ignore one of the bigger “automatic cuts” which is the expiration of the Bush tax cuts (which Obama allowed to be extended for another year–that year is up in early 2012 I believe). This is probably the only thing that will bring the Republicans back to negotiations. Democrats also do not want full loss of the Bush tax cuts because some of it would indeed fall on the less-than-stinking-rich, namely small business owners and thus would not help the economy.

    Obama needs to hold his ground and allow the lapse of the full Bush tax cuts. This would repair his reputation as weakly and endlessly ceding ground to the Republicans in the name of now totally discredited “bipartisanship”, and any collateral damage would lay at the feet of those Republicans. His history of “compromise” does not bode well but 2012 should focus his mind.

  2. zut alors

    You have to hand it to the Yanks, they know how to dress-up an entity to make it appear powerful. Hence they have a Congress debt SUPERcommittee. In the obvious interests of accuracy it should be rebranded a futilecommittee.

    They should amend the system to only allow adults to attend meetings.

  3. Whistleblower

    It would appear that US politicians are no better than our own, with bloody-minded duplicity and wilful blindness being the order of the day. No country can run deficits of 10% of GDP indefinitely, but for politicians it is more important to score points and be “cock of the dung heap” than to work on constructive policy for the good of the country.

    And it should not be forgotten that Obama’s health reform programs are totally unfunded yet were pushed through in the absence of any funding assurance. The so-called Bush tax cuts were a complete and utter disgrace yet they have been allowed to continue.

    At the root of all these problems is the massive levels of political corruption in the US to whereby it appear that political representation there is contingent on what is essentially corrupt and mendacious behaviour, backscratching and in some cases outright fraud, in a similar situation to the preselection processes within the Labor Party.

    It is this behaviour combined with the essential ignorance of the majority of the electorate that allow this process to continue. Judging by activities such as the Tea Party movement, Creationism and Christian fundamentalism the US, the situation there in relation collective ignorance is even worse than in Australia.

  4. Peter Hannigan

    I think there is a procedural solution.

    1. Select committee
    2. Lock them in a room with limited food and water.
    3. Release when agreement or no signs of life
    4. Repeat committee process until agreement is reached or they run out of members of Congress.

    I am confident of agreement – Congress is after all about self interest. I will admit there may be isolated instances of cannibalism given the personalities who seek political office.

  5. Kennedy Mary

    I am an Australian living permanently in the USA – & let me tell you – Barack Obama is the only adult in the room !! The Republicans & a few bluedogs in Dems continue to be the stumbling blocks – understatement of the year !!!

  6. Kennedy Mary

    Bigoted right wing FOX watching Americans – aka collective America – get the Congress they vote for …collective America needs to turn the mirror on itself …

  7. Ravenred

    Peter Hannigan – I seem to recall they did that with the Conclave to elect the Pope once, things slowed down, so they took off the roof. I don’t know how many non-political storms later they elected a new one…

  8. michael r james

    Oops, I got the expiry date early by a year:

    [((slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2011/11/supercommittee_and_bush_tax_cuts_a_10_year_old_blunder_doomed_deficit_reduction.single.html))
    Prisoners of Bush
    The Bush tax cuts: How a 10-year-old blunder haunted, then doomed, the supercommittee.
    .
    The tax cut deal of 2010 only extended the Bush rates to January 2013. Republicans wanted to rewrite the deal, extend the rates forever, and add an estimated $2 trillion to the debt in exchange for a smaller number of revenue-raisers and loophole-busters.
    .
    The “most significant block to our doing something right now, tomorrow,” said Kerry, “is their insistence, insistence, insistence on the Grover Norquist pledge and extending the Bush tax cuts. Now, we are not a tax-cutting committee. We’re a deficit-reduction committee.”]
    .
    This is a bit scary because it means there is a chance for the conservatives to lock in these tax cuts forever–at untold damage to the USA–if they win the presidency at the end of next year. Mitt Romney will know how foolish this would be to the long term ability of the US government but he will be too enthralled to the anti-tax lobbyists, and too in love with a second term, to veto it.

  9. AR

    I’m with PeteH – with any luck few would survive and they semi sentient. Then we could try the same in Senate Estimates and, wonder of wonders, extend it to the Reps?

  10. Harley Dennett

    That’s the extra year that Obama was referring to, but few are looking that far ahead. The US government runs out of money again on 16 December this year, and with the failure of the ‘supercommittee’, will require another continuing resolution.

    I’ve yet to see signs that Harry Reid, leader of the Democrats in the Senate, has taken any steps to avoid that inevitable crisis. If recent history is any guide, he’ll take no steps in preparation of the 2013 showdown either.

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