The failure of the so-called “Super Committee” to come to a bipartisan agreement over at least $1.2 trillion in cuts before the scheduled midnight Wednesday deadline does not come as a surprise to a populace battered by the harsh political climate that is only getting stormier.
No one, to paraphrase showman P.T. Barnum, ever went broke underestimating the inability of this Congress to work together with President Obama. In a new survey conducted this month by Millionaire Corner, a scant 7.7 percent said that the Super Committee, which was formed last August and is comprised of six Democrats and six Republicans, would be successful. Just over 70 percent said they would fail to reach an agreement, while 22.1 percent said they did not know.
Tellingly, men were much more pessimistic about the Super Committee’s chances than women. Three-quarters of men said the group would fail in their efforts compared with just about 65 percent of women.
The Super Committee was formed in the wake of the bruising debt ceiling debate. Their mission: to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit, or else cuts to defense and some non-defense spending will automatically become effective in 2013 (Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps, veterans' benefits and other programs would be spared). Impossible? Apparently so, as both sides are predictably blaming each other for the gridlock and lack of action.
A new CNN poll released today found a predictable partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans over tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and spending cuts. Republicans are opposed to tax increases by a margin of 59 percent to 39 percent, and Democrats are against spending cuts by a margin of 57 percent to 42 percent.
The public, meanwhile, are overwhelmingly in support of raising taxes on higher-income Americans and businesses. They also back major cuts in spending in domestic government programs by a margin of 60 percent to 39 percent.
Members of the committee did hold an unscheduled afternoon meeting on Monday to bat around a proposed “new idea,” CNN reported, but it is expected that an agreement will not be reached.
Previous Millionaire Corner surveys have found a similar lack of faith in government to work together. For example, only 8 percent said that Congress and the Obama administration would be able to hammer out a bipartisan job creation plan. Nearly three-quarters (73.6 percent) gave little hope of cooperation.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.