Gingrich Dead On About Super Committee Deficiencies

Opinion

 @http://twitter.com/jtalty on August 12 2011 9:43 AM
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, the biggest debtor in the 2012 presidential race
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich won his party's primary election in South Carolina, based on exit polls. Reuters

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich hasn't had much success in the race of late, losing all momentum and most of his staff in June, but finally got back on track last night in a televised debate.

Gingrich hit on a few really good points, but his best had to have been his criticism of the proposed Joint Select Committee Deficit Reduction, better known as the "super committee."

The committee is a mixed group of 12 senators and congressmen, handpicked by Republican and Democrat Congressional leadership, to find some new ways to fix the United States' economic woes.

Gingrich suggested that it was all pointless -- that the secretive meetings of 12 politicians couldn't possibly be more effective than the other 523 congressional leaders -- especially given the backgrounds of the selected politicians.

"I think Congress ought to come back in next Monday -- I think this 12-person committee's a disaster," Gingrich told Sean Hannity last night. "That leaves 523 senators and congressmen basically sitting to one side until Thanksgiving -- I think they should change the whole approach."

Gingrich wisely brings up a point that hasn't been talked about nearly enough.

The 12 politicians, which include Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), were handpicked by their party's leadership for a reason.

Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi tapped members that would push for revenue increases, while not allowing Republicans to cut all spending.

On the other side, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner selected ball hawks that are going to push for as much spending cuts as possible, while trying to avoid slashing the defense budget, as well as holding the tax line.

Each side made picks that will likely make the overall base of the party happy, but doesn't lend itself to a great compromise.

"Everyone's picking safe people -- if nobody sticks their neck out, they get a 6-6 tie," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, in the Los Angeles Times.

Bixby brings up a good point -- what makes us think that throwing these 12 people in a room is suddenly going to make it easier to come to a compromise?

If the debt ceiling debate taught us anything is that this is an extremely tenuous situation and not easily resolved.

It took a lot of work by both sides in trying to broker compromises, reel in resistant party members, ultimately residing in a decision that didn't do enough.

One could argue by cutting down the numbers and taking the discourse private it'd help speed along the process.

But the opposite is closer to the truth.

No longer is there constant public pressure to get something done. By taking the conversation to private quarters, its members no longer have to worry as much to what they say as they would on an open floor in the House or Senate.

Again this could be beneficial, but often times is not.

It'd be unfair to call these selections puppets for Reid, Pelosi, McConnell, and Boehner, but there's no doubt that each committee member will heavily rely on their insight when making a decision.

One reason these 12 were selected was their trustworthiness. Each party's leadership knows that these selections aren't going to go against the party's values -- it's the primary reason they were picked.

So how exactly will that work out when the Democrat and Republican parties share few similar ideas when it comes to reducing the budget deficit?

Gingrich might not get a lot right, but he sure nailed this one right on the head.

Does it sound nice to have a "super committee" working hard to fix the budget crisis?

Sure.

But is it practical? Or even likely to achieve major accomplishments?

Not in the slightest.

 

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