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LAMBRO: Taking a stab at deficit reduction standoff
Toomey plan might be supercommittee’s last chance
Question of the Day
Even the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 helped us get through several financial catastrophes, cut the deficit in half and produced a 4.7 percent unemployment rate in 2007 just before the subprime home foreclosure scandal drove us into severe recession.
Still, it is hard to see this bitterly divided supercommittee producing a well-thought-out growth incentive plan under such a tight deadline, before Thanksgiving.
The driving force behind its creation in the federal debt limit battle was a series of annual budget deficits under Barack Obama’s presidency that climbed to $1.5 trillion in his first year and hit $1.3 trillion this year. The total federal debt now stands at a whopping $15 trillion.
But the members of the supercommittee say they are no nearer to a deal now than when they began. They have agreed on a large number of spending cuts but clearly, the stumbling block remains the issue of taxes.
Maybe the best course would be to set that issue aside for the time being, turning it over to the tax-writing panels of Congress, and concentrate on a plan to cut spending.
The supercommittee’s mission is to cut at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. That comes out to a little over $100 billion a year out of a nearly $4 trillion annual budget that wastes more than that sum each and every year.
If they can’t agree on even that amount in savings, then I say, let the automatic budget cuts — triggered under the debt limit deal — begin.
Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.
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