Flim Flam and Fantasy From The Super Committee

Communication from the Congressional “Super Committee” reminds us of an overused gag from “I Love Lucy” and other early TV sitcoms.   Rickey comes home from work to learn that his ditzy wife Lucy has spent money they can’t afford on something they don’t need and he doesn’t want.  Lucy assures him the unneeded trinket didn’t cost anything because she bought it with money she saved by buying a new dress on sale.

The Super Committee is supposed to find a path to $1.2 trillion in “deficit reduction.”   But committee Democrats seem to believe it best to achieve deficit reduction through increased spending.  One of their proposals is to log “savings” each year from 2013 through 2022 from ending military operations in Iraq this year and in Afghanistan in, as now planned, in 2014.

Consider this exchange between Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace and Democratic Congressman James Clyburn, a member of the Super Committee:

WALLACE: “The Democratic plan would count hundreds of billions of dollars in savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that would be applied to entitlements, things like that. Isn’t that a classic Washington budget gimmick, to count savings on money that wasn’t going to be spent anyway?

CLYBURN: We believe and the CBO believes that there is around $917 billion to be saved over the next 10 years from the overseas contingency account. And we ought to count that.  We ought to use that savings to plow it back in to fix Social Security, that will allow it to be solvent for another 75 years, to plow it into job creation programs that would get people back to work…

So here’s a summary of Clyburn’s preposterous idea of “deficit reduction” for the Super Committee to adopt:
  • The latest estimates from the Administration and the Congressional Budget Office are that the 2012 deficit will come in at just below $1 Trillion.
  • Clyburn and the Democrats want to enact Obama’s “jobs bill” that would increase 2012 spending by about by $450 billion.
  • To offset the extra spending Democrats propose no cuts in other programs.  They don’t even propose tax increases.  They would simply run a larger deficit – about $1.5 Trillion – in 2012.  This would be the largest  deficit in US history.
  • Democrats want the Super Committee on Deficit Reduction to propose to Congress that it increase the 2012 deficit over the already bloated level, AND give the committee credit for “deficit reduction” by reporting “savings” in the years 2013 – 2022 from the end of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In his Tonight Show monologue Jay Leno might respond: “My question is why not count 66 years of savings since the end of World War II?  Then we could just give every American a million dollars and still run a budget surplus!”

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