Sen. Patty Murray, a longtime defender of federal social spending, might seem to be an unlikely choice for the new “super committee” in charge of finding more ways to cut the federal debt.
As soon as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Murraay as one of his three nominees to the committee, GOP groups fired off press releases saying that Murray’s selection showed the Dems were not serious about tackling the challenges of curbing spending on Medicare and Medicaid.
But one could just as easily argue that having Murray on board as a co-author will help Reid sell what is likely to be a painful budgetary package to other Senate Democrats whose views align with Murray’s.
The super committee was one of the features of the deadline debt ceiling compromise between President Obama and Congressional Republicans. I’m still trying to figure out why anyone thought that the creation of another budgetary doomsday machine would be a good idea, but that’s exactly what this is. The Seattle Times calls it a “poison pill:”
“It has to agree on an unprecedented $1.5 trillion plan to reduce the deficit, through cuts, tax increases or both. Otherwise, automatic spending cuts to defense, Medicare and other programs will kick in — triggering a kind of a mutual fiscal poison pill for Democrats and Republicans.”
So we’ve reached a point where leaders in both political parties have to take the federal government (and the citizen taxpayers it is supposed to serve) hostage in order to motivate themselves to do what they are being paid to do.
This seems to be the perfect way to produce still more budgetary policy pigs wearing the lipstick of compromise. But what do I know?