Yesterday the members of the Supercommittee announced that they could not find the guts to come to a filibuster proof solution to the deficit…..all the games….all the partisanship…..and all the total bullsh*t!
WE all have waited with baited breath……will we or will we not have a deal?
And the answer is in……(drum roll and trumpets sound)……..the supercommittee was a pathetic FAILURE! They spake not! A DISMAL WASTE OF TIME AND RESOURCES!
These idiots ( I am sorry to call them idiots but if the shoe fits……) could have just used the Simpson-Bowles Plan…….
The plan starts with a series of “guiding principles,” most of which are exemplary. But, as this analysis explains, the specifics of the plan violate some of the co-chairs’ core principles — namely, the principle “Don’t Disrupt a Fragile Economic Recovery” and the principle to “Protect the Truly Disadvantaged.” In addition, at least one principle is deeply misguided and could do serious harm to the nation in the future — the call to hold revenues and spending to no more than 21 percent of GDP, despite the challenges the nation faces in the decades ahead. 
“Don’t Disrupt a Fragile Economy”
The proposal to start implementing budget cuts in fiscal year 2012 — a short 10½ months from now — runs a substantial risk of impeding the economic recovery. In its most recent economic forecast, the Congressional Budget Office projects that unemployment will still average 8.4 percent in fiscal year 2012 and that the gap between actual GDP and its potential level will not be closed until the end of 2014. A growing number of private economic forecasters are expressing deepening concern over the economy’s lack of steam and its potential to experience growth too anemic to lower unemployment significantly over the next few years. It would be far better to delay implementation of significant deficit-reduction policies at least until fiscal year 2013, when there should be less chance of stifling the recovery and locking the economy into a long period of sub-par performance.
“Protect the Truly Disadvantaged”
While the plan aims to avoid violating the co-chairs’ principle “to protect the truly disadvantaged” by not proposing widespread cuts in means-tested programs, it nevertheless threatens benefits and services for millions of Americans who have very modest incomes and would experience significant hardship.
For instance, while the proposed changes in Social Security would produce benefit increases for many among the poorest fifth of Social Security beneficiaries — a praiseworthy accomplishment — the changes would cut benefits for those in the next-to-the-bottom fifth and the middle fifth of beneficiaries. Social Security Administration data show that in 2008, the median income for elderly Social Security beneficiaries (including any income they get from other sources, as well as their spouses’ income) was only $14,100 for those in the next-to-the-bottom fifth and $20,600 for those in the middle fifth.
Indeed, the plan would cut Social Security benefits for a medium earner (one whose earnings are in the middle of the wage distribution) by 15 percent below the currently scheduled amount in 2050 and 22 percent by 2080. Yet a lifelong medium earner who retires at age 65 in 2010 receives a benefit of just $1,397 a month, or $16,764 a year — which is only about 55 percent above the poverty line — and generally does not have significant income from other sources.
The plan’s cuts in Medicaid and Medicare would pose further problems for millions of people of modest means. The plan calls for increasing the amounts that elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries must pay for health care services (presumably through higher co-payments) under both Medicare and the Medigap policies that supplement Medicare coverage. The plan lacks details on how these changes would work, and they might well be reasonable parts of a balanced deficit-reduction plan — if they were not being extracted from the same modest-income seniors and people with disabilities whose Social Security benefits were being cut at the same time. As Drew Altman, the highly respected president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, recently explained, many of these modest-income Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries
have low incomes and already pay a significant share of their incomes for health care today. It will be difficult if not impossible to ask the majority of beneficiaries to pay more or make do with less. This has been the missing element in the entitlement/deficit reduction debate: Warren Buffet is not the typical Medicare beneficiary. Instead the prototype is an older woman with multiple chronic illnesses living on an income of less than $25,000 who spends more than 15 percent of her income on health care. It is the people on these programs and the realities of their lives that have been left out of the discussion.
Another health-care element of the plan poses still greater risks for the nation’s most vulnerable people by threatening severe cuts over time in Medicaid, Medicare, and the subsidies to help modest-income people purchase coverage in the new insurance exchanges that the health reform law will establish. The plan proposes to contain growth after 2020 in federal health expenditures for these programs and the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored insurance to no more than 1 percent more per year than the rate of growth in GDP.
Tough, but rational, targets for slowing health care cost growth virtually always are based on per- beneficiary costs, not aggregate costs. For example, the target for Medicare cost growth that the Independent Payment Advisory Board established by the health reform law must hit is GDP plus 1 percent per beneficiary. The difference here is crucial. The Bowles-Simpson target is for total health program costs, rather than costs per beneficiary, to rise no faster than GDP+1; that would likely lead to draconian results. It would mean that as the share of the population that is elderly increases, cuts of increasing severity likely would have to be made in Medicaid and Medicare to fit total federal health-care expenditures within an entirely unrealistic constraint. Over time, the effects on vulnerable Americans could be grim.
Or some form of this…sign their names to it and look like they have earned their salary for the year…..but NOOOOOO….that would be too much like right…….
This exercise in futility reminds me a a shirt I have seen…..”Never underestimate the stupidity of a large crowd”!……….
Speaking of “recreational drugs”!…….may I see a show of hands of those who thought this idea was a good one?