published Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Deadlock on even limited U.S. budget cuts

In a little over a month, an aptly named "super committee" in Congress is supposed to put forth proposals to cut $1.2 trillion or more from our nation's deficits over the coming 10 years.

We say that name is apt because achieving that goal may well require superhuman effort on the part of the bipartisan committee.

Democrats want higher taxes and no real reform of entitlement programs that are running out of money. Republicans want reform to make entitlements solvent, and no job-killing tax hikes. In the weeks since the super committee began meeting, no agreement has surfaced on how to cut deficits and begin getting America's $14.8 trillion debt under control.

What makes that more alarming is the fact that even the goal of $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over the coming decade is woefully insufficient. The national debt would continue growing at a rapid pace -- just not quite so fast as it is growing now.

Everything we produce in our nation in a year -- our gross domestic product -- comes to about $15 trillion. So if we had to pay off all our debt at once, it would take virtually our total national output for a year. We cannot do that while still funding necessary government functions. But it puts in perspective just how inadequate cuts of $1.2 trillion over 10 years would be.

If ever we needed members of Congress who are committed to real spending cuts, it is now.

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