The so-called Super Committee is on the brink of failure, if it has not already failed:
The congressional committee tasked with reducing the federal deficit is poised to admit defeat as soon as Monday, and its unfinished business will set up a year-end battle over emergency jobless benefits and an expiring payroll tax holiday.
This failure was completely foreseeable. The gap between Democratic and Republican visions of the economy is too broad.
When I supported the debt deal last August it was not because it was a good deal or because I thought the Super Committee would amount to anything, but because Republicans had become the proverbial dog chasing the car:
But the debt ceiling was an imperfect device on which to mount the effort to change the direction of government. Unlike a “mere” budget impasse resulting in a partial shutdown of government, the debt ceiling holds more risk. I never bought into the August 2 drop-dead date, but I do accept that with $100 billion per month deficits we could not last long after August 2 before collateral effects were felt. Those collateral effects go beyond a debt downgrade (which probably will happen anyway), and include economic dislocation would be hard to predict politically.
So we are, to some extent, like the proverbial dog chasing the car which doesn’t know what to do with it once it catches the car. The car being a failure to raise the debt ceiling for a significant period of time. What would be do with it once we got it?
Negotiations never were going to resolve conflicting visions of the role and expansion of government. Only elections can resolve those competing visions.
So there likely will be no deal. No big deal. It sets up the competing visions of our country’s future quite nicely for November 2012. The electorate can choose Greece if it wants, but I don’t think it will do so.