Not that my hopes as to what the Super Committee would accomplish were ever that high, but it still hurts to hear one of my congressional heroes call out the improbability of any meaningful accomplishment emerging from the work of the joint committee. The Wall Street Journal reports:
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), a top choice among Republicans for a deficit-cutting super-committee formed last week, on Sunday sought to tamp down expectations for the panel.
“I don’t think a grand bargain is going to come out of this,” Mr. Ryan said on Fox News Sunday. He said that any deal for more than the $1.5 trillion in deficit-reduction over 10 years that the committee is charged with finding would depend on whether Democrats were willing to agree to overhaul entitlement programs. “I don’t see any agreement from the other side getting anywhere close to doing that,” he said. …
“People are overemphasizing what this committee is going to achieve,” Mr. Ryan said.
“I want to make sure people understand that I don’t think this is going to be a committee that is going to fix all our fiscal problems,” he said.
Of course Ryan is right. So far, all that has ever proceeded from the painful and prolonged deliberations surrounding any budget debate — starting with the CR debates at the outset of this congressional session — is the absolute bare minimum to preserve the status quo. But that doesn’t mean whoever ends up on the Committee shouldn’t try — or that those of us watching and commenting shouldn’t encourage their attempt.
In the same Fox interview, the House Budget Committee Chairman was also cool about the credit downgrade. “We more or less saw this coming,” Ryan said. That’s certainly the reasonable position to take, even though everybody from George Will to David Axelrod seems determined to write off the downgrade as anything but what it was: An accurate (and should-have-been-expected!) reflection of the nation’s lack of perfect creditworthiness. Now is certainly the time to stop the blame game — whether whom the pols and pundits are blaming is S&P, the Tea Party, Democrats or Republicans — and focus on solutions. May I humbly recommend the plan put forward by my former employer, The Heritage Foundation? Or, for that matter, the original Ryan budget?