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Super committee’s failure affects us all


It was difficult to believe Congress could do more to tarnish its already sad, do-nothing reputation. But the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the so-called “super committee”), which was given extraordinary powers to cut the nation’s deficit spending, announced Monday that it had failed. When one considers that the U.S. government will spend $77 trillion over the next 10 years, you’d think they could come up with $1.2 trillion in cuts (only 0.17% of spending) over 10 years.


What happens next?

The automatic cuts Congress agreed to if the super committee could not reach agreement will kick in—but not until 2013. Automatic defense and domestic spending cuts (incrementally implemented over a decade) amount to:

  • 7.8% in domestic program spending
  • 2% in Medicare spending
  • 10% percent in defense spending
  • $200 billion in savings from interest payments we don’t have to make.

The defense “hawks” among our esteemed lawmakers already are scheming to defeat the automatic cuts in defense spending, even though one of the most conservative members of Congress begs to disagree. “I think we need to be honest about it,” said Rand Paul, a Tea Party darling. “The interesting thing is there will be no cuts in military spending. This may surprise some people, but there will be no cuts in military spending because we’re only cutting proposed increases. If we do nothing, military spending goes up 23% over 10 years. If we sequester the money, it will still go up 16%.” So spending is still rising under any of these plans. In fact, if you look at both alternatives, spending is still going up. We’re only cutting proposed increases in spending.

In reality, the supposed automatic cuts to the defense budget are only potential cuts to increased budgets in defense spending. As it is, defense spending will go up at least 16% if the automatic cuts are implemented. However, cuts to unemployment benefits, Medicaid, and the like are real. And who shall advocate for those affected—the miserable 9%? Believe it or not, these particular cuts—especially if Congress forces them to be deeper by refusing to cut Defense Department increases—will affect every American by pushing us even closer to a double-dip recession.



The views and opinions expressed by Perspectives contributors are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. These are opinion pieces and are not peer reviewed.

7 Comments. Leave new

  • Louise Moondancer
    February 3, 2012 12:43 am

    Some of the difficulty that I see is that we are trying to comprehend things that we do not have the background to comprehend. The economy and those that control it are far from honest and there are so many exceptions and conditions that influence the economy that it even makes the experts head spin. The truth has many layers…

  • What do you think will happen to health care if ANY Rep[ublican is elected?

  • Have you given any thought to what will happen in Mitt Romney becomes president?

  • I do not believe that this particular Congress is capable of doing anything at all. So, I agree with all — we need to elect Congress men and women who will work together to resolve the issues we all face as a nation!

  • My father used to say “figures don’t lie, but liars figure!” And there seems to be a lot of that today.

  • We need to elect people like Paul Ryan who are serious about cutting spending and raising revenue (not necessarily tax hikes but simplify the tax code and remove loopholes). Will the REAL leaders please stand up!

  • Leah,

    here here……how many more committees can we form. how about congress foroges summer recess….instead of forming another committee—ridicules!


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