Schrodinger’s Super Committee?

posted at 12:45 pm on October 30, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

As the clock continues to tick for congress on our eventual budget deal, the work of the so-called super committee is looking more and more like a case of Schrodinger’s Cat. Deliberating in private, a few leaks and hints aside, observers on both sides are left to wonder if the eventual “solution” they produce will be viable or if it’s just a dead cat. I suppose we’ll have to wait to open the box to find out.

This weekend I was reminded of this with two very opposite, but equally dismal views of this august body. First, from the Left, Nancy Altman speaks pitch perfect OWS language while sounding the warning bell that the evil 1% are about to use what some others uncharitably refer to as “the Cat Food Commission” to pick the pockets of the 99%.

The 1% is using the super-secret Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (a.k.a. the Super Committee), to reach directly into the pockets of the 99% and steal hundreds of billions of dollars from them. This committee has unprecedented power. It has been meeting behind closed doors for weeks. Finally, though, its plans are leaking out, and they are not pretty.

In order to spare defense contractors, the pharmaceutical industry, and other fat cats, while appeasing the credit agencies, whose AAA ratings to crony-clients helped crash the economy, the Supercommittee has proposed slashing benefits for current and future beneficiaries of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, notwithstanding that the current deficit has nothing to do with these programs.

This demonstrates the problem that the president will continue to face on his own flank. Even if we can get a group of congressmen to acknowledge the fact that entitlement programs must evolve or collapse under their own weight, his base will see any move in that direction as an absolute betrayal.

From the other side of the ideological divide, Smitty seems to be throwing up his hands in despair before we even crack open the door. He’s responding to some comments by Megan McArdle, who sees the best case scenario as none too rosy. “The bad news is that $1.2 trillion is hardly enough to address our future budget problems, and there’s no indication that there’s any hope of a bigger deal.”

In nautical terms, we may have come to all stop on the main engines as a result of the 2010 election, but we still have way on, and the helm still has us pointing to disaster.

Anybody who seriously thought, or still thinks, that we’re not going to get into some wrenching brinksmanship with a side order of disaster? The mere existence of a Super Committee is an admission that the senior heads in both chambers of Congress are useless. These risible clowns in the Senate have not passed a budget in > 900 days. That would seem to put the 1,000 day mark somewhere around the traditional State of the Union Address at the end of January.

To be clear, I wasn’t a fan of the entire idea of this super committee in the first place. The fate of a critical set of decisions will be placed in the hands of the representatives of a relatively small slice of the population. The rest of the Washington crew has essentially abandoned ship, unable to question the decision for fear of some terrible Sword of Damocles hanging over their collective heads.

But this is what we seem to be stuck with, and they don’t appear to be any more immune to deadlock than the legislative branch at large. The Democrats are still going to be looking for substantial revenue increases as part of the total package and the Republicans aren’t going to have it. How they follow that formula to achieve a relatively paltry $1.2T cuts over ten years is a mystery, and even if they do manage it, it’s more of a band aid than a cure.

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Democrats have no interest in the committee producing anything but tax hikes and more spending. Republicans won’t allow that, so the automatic cuts will go into effect. But only to defense, because any cuts to entitlements that aren’t reversed will be used to bash Republicans over the head.

Another situation where we’re going to “fix” the problem by gutting one of the few actual responsibilities of government — one that’s not causing the biggest problems.

amerpundit on October 30, 2011 at 12:54 PM

amerpundit on October 30, 2011 at 12:54 PM

The week may have just begun, but it’s not too early for it…

Comment of the Week™

Steve Eggleston on October 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Which legislators are on the “super-duper” committee again?

knob on October 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I suppose we’ll have to wait to open the box to find out.

Egggsactly..

“The bad news is that $1.2 trillion is hardly enough to address our future budget problems,

That’s over ten years, right? They’re talking about reducing the annual federal budget deficit by ~10% with phantom budget reductions.

So an annual deficit of 1.5 trillion becomes an annual deficit of ~1.4 trillion. Right?

Just like Greece. The European debt crisis resolved by borrowing more money.

Skandia Recluse on October 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Why can’t Obama lead?

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Schrodinger’s Cat

Does anybody here realize that the whole Schrodinger’s Cat Theory was a joke. It’s too absurd to prove anything, and actually makes no sense. It should never be used in a serious discussion about anything. Of course I’m not an intellectual and absurd stuff like this I usually ignore. That being said I have to ask. Is the Super Committee constitutional? All the senators and congressmen have only one vote apiece. Just like me. I didn’t vote for anyone on the committee. Why do they have so much power to wield on such far reaching events and my congressman and senator have none? Is this the American Way? I (by proxy) am being phased out and ignored. And like a debutant at the ball, I will not be ignored any longer.

Tommy_G on October 30, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Whaddya expect, from a plan that was DESIGNED to fail?

LegendHasIt on October 30, 2011 at 1:10 PM

This is another articulation of our perilous situation and the watershed nature of the 2012 elections. Simply put, we are headed for the obviously disastrous and failed European model, or we will turn the ship around. The current Republican leadership, supported by the Republican establishment, is not interested in forcing that change of direction.
Obama and his radical democrat machine, as written above, will continue to push for more of what got us to this point, without any concern for the destruction of all that once made us different than the European countries. Part of the radical democrat establishment is the main stream media, which carries their water daily, to the great benefit of the Obama democrat machine.
The 2012 elections will tell the tale.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 30, 2011 at 1:11 PM

The whole idea stinks to high heaven.

These self-important a-holes that we send to DC need to DO THEIR DAMN JOB.

hillbillyjim on October 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM

How they follow that formula to achieve a relatively paltry $1.2T cuts over ten years is a mystery, and even if they do manage it, it’s more of a band aid than a cure.

You know, there is this fella from the Gulf Coast of Texas running for POTUS… he’s got a plan to chop $1 trillion in the first year…

Wonder what that man’s name is?….

JohnGalt23 on October 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM

We have a super (well-paid) committee already. It is called Congress. It is provided for in the Constitution. This so-called “super-committee” is not.

If its members refuse to take their duties seriously, get rid of them. All of them.

Now, about that budget we were promised a few years ago?

coldwarrior on October 30, 2011 at 1:27 PM

That 1.2T over 10 years won’t even cover the Social Security deficit:

Now, Social Security is sucking money out of the Treasury. This year, it will add a projected $46 billion to the nation’s budget problems, according to projections by system trustees. Replacing cash lost to a one-year payroll tax holiday will require an additional $105 billion. If the payroll tax break is expanded next year, as President Obama has proposed, Social Security will need an extra $267 billion to pay promised benefits.

If Wapo is admitting that, how bad is it really?

Dawnsblood on October 30, 2011 at 1:32 PM

The whole idea stinks to high heaven.

These self-important a-holes that we send to DC need to DO THEIR DAMN JOB.

hillbillyjim on October 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM

The committee itself is unconstitutional. We are a representative Republic. Anything they come up with should be considered unenforceable.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Which legislators are on the “super-duper” committee again?
 
knob on October 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM

 
That’s an easy one.
 
Not yours.

rogerb on October 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Schrodinger’s Super Committee?

The committee itself is unconstitutional.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Are they related to the Super Delegates?

listens2glenn on October 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Archie Bunker v. Obama Sunday humor.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 1:58 PM

It’s simple: Use taxpayer money to provide free diapers to the American public.

The Super Committee is crystal-clear acknowledgment that we currently have the dumbest and most ill prepared political class which has ever cursed the nation. They don’t know what they are doing and we are fu**ed.

Bishop on October 30, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Are they related to the Super Delegates?

listens2glenn on October 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Perhaps.

Very good point by the way.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Jazz you’re using the wrong Cat analogy. The super-duper- committee is a perpetual motion machine, ever spinning, but accomplishing nothing.

batterup on October 30, 2011 at 2:00 PM

amerpundit on October 30, 2011 at 12:54 PM

coldwarrior on October 30, 2011 at 1:27 PM

I completely agree with you. I went on a rant about Defense cuts instead of entitlement cuts here.

pookysgirl on October 30, 2011 at 2:02 PM

It’s simple: Use taxpayer money to provide free diapers to the American public.

The Super Committee is crystal-clear acknowledgment that we currently have the dumbest and most ill prepared political class which has ever cursed the nation. They don’t know what they are doing and we are fu**ed.

Bishop on October 30, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Obama Capitalism

I think the OWS movement is designed to make socialism look sexy. Obama? It is not working.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 2:06 PM

The Super Committee is crystal-clear acknowledgment that we currently have the dumbest and most ill prepared political class which has ever cursed the nation. They don’t know what they are doing and we are fu**ed.

Bishop on October 30, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Agreed, except that some of them may know what they are doing with respect to destroying America.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 30, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Herman Cain will put an end to this B.S.

Wench

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Which legislators are on the “super-duper” committee again?
knob on October 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Doesn’t matter. The Dem side has come out and said they will accept no entitlement cuts and the Repub side has said no to any tax increases.

Attempted Irresistible Forces, meet Attempted Immovable Objects.

eeyore on October 30, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Wench

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 2:09 PM

KWR: I am working on the decision of whom to support, and I value your views. Do you believe that Cain will be able to convince a significant percentage of the black population that his view of how to get ahead is the correct view, as opposed to what the Wench and her husband espouse?

GaltBlvnAtty on October 30, 2011 at 2:24 PM

i have no doubt that some/most on the left are rooting for the decline of the US…just as I have no doubt that the ows is a campaign strategy of obama (i.e., they’ll disappear once he’s elected)

but, there’s a sad little chart that in a gnerally sad little report that ZH has put up from SoGen, a French bank

the chart shows the S and P baseline scenario as of 2006, wherein most country lose their investment grade state (on sovereign debt)

Already in 2006, S&P was arguing that ageing populations would cause most OECD countries tolose their investment grade status by 2040

now, for the bad news. the US leads the way. by 2020 this chart shows the US as BBB.

The truth is that some combination of massive tax increase, massive cuts, and robust inflation is the only way out.

I think that we’ve gone beyond the point where we can growd our way out. The world is too competitive, the US is too sclerotic. We have leftists dominating every facet of the US culture, politics and media.

The momentum and demographics are insurmountable.

r keller on October 30, 2011 at 2:34 PM

KWR: I am working on the decision of whom to support, and I value your views. Do you believe that Cain will be able to convince a significant percentage of the black population that his view of how to get ahead is the correct view, as opposed to what the Wench and her husband espouse?

GaltBlvnAtty on October 30, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Yes, I do. Cain can speak with authority on the issue of “entitlements”. I believe that Cain can truly motivate our Nation. Especially our young people. He can motivate Americans to read our Constitution, and learn to follow it. The fact that people seem to be proud to be living on public welfare is not just alarming, it is heart breaking.

Cain will break the chains of slavery and will reveal the Democrat party for what they are. Slave Owners. He will also release Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to their well overdue unemployment.

Cain 2012.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Yes, I do. Cain can speak with authority on the issue of “entitlements”. I believe that Cain can truly motivate our Nation. Especially our young people. He can motivate Americans to read our Constitution, and learn to follow it. The fact that people seem to be proud to be living on public welfare is not just alarming, it is heart breaking.

Cain will break the chains of slavery and will reveal the Democrat party for what they are. Slave Owners. He will also release Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to their well overdue unemployment.

Cain 2012.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Thanks for your uplifting response. I have my own reasons for holding Cain in high regard, having, as a white teenager in Alabama, seen what Cain had to grow up in and out of.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 30, 2011 at 2:47 PM

I think that we’ve gone beyond the point where we can growd our way out. The world is too competitive, the US is too sclerotic. We have leftists dominating every facet of the US culture, politics and media.

The momentum and demographics are insurmountable.

r keller on October 30, 2011 at 2:34 PM

The irony. Obama’s “yes we can” be socialists has backfired.

Now, in late 2011 early 2012 it’ll be “Yes We Can Be America Again”.

Much to his chagrin.

That Socialist Punk can’t take this Nation of Patriots. Hell No.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Thanks for your uplifting response. I have my own reasons for holding Cain in high regard, having, as a white teenager in Alabama, seen what Cain had to grow up in and out of.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 30, 2011 at 2:47 PM

I grew up in Queens NYC, on welfare. Public housing. Food stamps. It sucked. The way I was raised, taught me to shun that way of life. I worked in a factory in 1980, sewing lawn chair replacement covers for $3.42 an hour. It was Reagan who said I could be “ANYTHING” I wanted to be.

Now? I make $75/hour. And I’m not working in a factory.

America Needs a really good dose of Black Reagan. Bill Cosby meets Ronald Reagan = Herman Cain.

Cain 2012.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Now you have me smiling and laughing, and feeling better about our chances.
Thanks.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 30, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Why do we continue to fall into the democrats’ word games? “The Democrats are still going to be looking for substantial revenue increases ….” It’s “tax increases!” When we start to use their weasel words in our analysis, we have already lost a major battle.

Up-Chuck on October 30, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 2:48 PM

well, i seriously hope you are right. But just the demographics, never mind the 15T of debt, don’t portend a growing US. The last 50 years have been driven by demographics. The demand for housing, primary and secondary education, for everything was increased by the boomers moving thru the age cycle

we are on the downside of that cycle. Less spending, more savings, less vacations and more healthcare.

we have lived in an age of growth…and the left has been able to shunt off a portion of that for their own pockets. I just don’t see a happy ending. But, i’m happy to be wrong

r keller on October 30, 2011 at 3:23 PM

r keller on October 30, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Your pessimism is understandable. However, we do have a better demographic situation that other western countries, and with the right can-do, work-ethic enthused attitude we could make it work, even though there would be some pain along the way, as you describe.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 30, 2011 at 3:31 PM

They kicked the can down the road. And the road was a dead end.

pat on October 30, 2011 at 3:52 PM

listens2glenn on October 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Key West Reader on October 30, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Well, after all; why have just one unconstitutional government organization working on your behalf, when you could have TWO?

listens2glenn on October 30, 2011 at 5:20 PM

JohnGalt23 on October 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM

The line item veto doesn’t exist. Without Congress budget cuts aren’t going to occur. Congress needs to man-up and do their job. We all know that isn’t going to happen the batten down the hatches and hang on for the ride off the 5+ waterfall.

chemman on October 30, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Yep! When John Boehner and his sidekick Eric Cantor completely caved to Obama’s demands to raise the Federal Debt Limit in exchange for this complete fiasco of a Super Committee (that was setup precisely to fail so they all could point their finger at someone to blame), the Republican Leadership in the House of Representatives threw away THE ONLY chance we had for stopping the Greek-style fiscal trainwreck that is looming fast on the horizon.

One of the above commenters stated that cutting 1.2 trillion (i.e. 1200 billion) over 10 years means they’re only cutting 120 billion per year from a 1.4 trillion (i.e. 1400 billion) ANNUAL deficit, which STILL leaves 1.28 trillion (i.e., 1280 billion) OVERSPENDING PER YEAR. Do the math yourself: 1400-120=1280.

Mahdi on October 30, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Jazz’s reference to Shrodinger pretty much makes all of us from Rio Linda (as Rush likes to say).
.
Subatomic particles exist and interact for the most part, without being observed. The act of observing or measuring changes them, however. The quantity of these particles is so large that it is impossible to predict the condition of a single particle. Yet the large quantity of particles allows reliable statistical estimates on likely outcomes.
.
Shrodinger produced a thought experiment with the cat and mandated that the fate of the cat was linked to the fate of a single subatomic particle yet to be observed. Until the particle is measured and/or observed, one must use statistics to determine its likely posture or outcome. As long as the cat and the subatomic particle remain in the box and the box remains unopened, quantum mechanics requires us to say that at present, the particle (and therefore the cat) is part “alive” and part “dead.”
.
Jazz Shaw is cleverly suggesting that the secretive and unmeasured SuperCommittee is like Shrodinger’s cat in the box. Until we open the box, quantum statistics suggests that the committee is both dead and alive at the same time. We’ve heard of Voodoo Economics, Jazz may have just opened up a branch we’ll call Zombie Economics.

Mark30339 on October 30, 2011 at 8:25 PM

The Democrats are still going to be looking for substantial revenue increases as part of the total package and the Republicans aren’t going to have it.

I’m dying to know how you could state this as a fact with a straight face. What evidence have you ever seen to back this up?

There is no way this country will elect enough fiscal conservatives, ever, to even get the budget balanced again. The demographics simply aren’t there. Meaning any spending cuts that actually happen (if any ever do) won’t matter at all in the face of trillion dollar plus deficits.

Add it all up and it means only one possible conclusion. Don’t take my word for it, do the math yourself. A fiscal trainwreck will hit, the only question remaining is will you be prepared for it?

runawayyyy on October 31, 2011 at 2:50 PM