In the last 24 hours, I’ve been giving some thought to the whole supercommittee, and I’ve realized I — and a lot of others — have been wrong. We all looked at their failure to come up with a solution to the budget situation and pronounced that they failed.
We couldn’t be more wrong. The committee was a wild success — as long as you understand just what its purpose was.
Anyone who believed that the committee’s goal was what was stated was a fool. (Myself included.) Its only purpose was to buy more time for business as usual, to kick the can down the road a bit further before we actually have our day of reckoning. And now they’ve served their purpose — they bought enough time that the “consequences” of their failure won’t come into effect until after the 2012 elections.
The problem is, our debt situation is not politically solvable under current circumstances. Stopping our spiraling into complete insolvency — never mind actually paying down our debt — is going to require some very brutal, some very ham-handed, and very unpopular decisions. No matter what solution or combination of solutions are applied, the people who do the applying are going to be extremely unpopular — and most likely pay the price at the polls. Even if the voters aren’t riled up enough on their own, the other party will do all they can to tie that unpopular solution around their neck and sink them.
Which is why I happen to think that the Tea Party movement actually has a chance of pulling it off. The people running under that banner are, by and large, not traditional politicians; they aren’t interested in making a career out of things. The threat of getting kicked out of office doesn’t scare them much.
But yay for the supercommittee. You had a very simple mission, and you achieved it. Pat yourselves on the back — but be sure to wrap it up properly, with a frenzy of blaming the other guys for the failure. Keep flinging that crap, so folks don’t realize that the blame belongs to the entire Congress as a whole, and that the problem is just getting worse.