Today the “Super Committee,” charged with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years, announced that they had failed to reach an agreement. This failure triggers a set of automatic cuts to entitlement programs and defense spending starting in January 2013, over a year away and after the 2012 election.
$1.2 trillion dollars over ten years equals $120 billion dollars per year. While that is a lot of money, it is only 3.3% of this year’s $3.6 trillion dollar budget. This super committee could not find 3.3% in spending cuts and/or tax increases. This was a bi-partisan committee, meaning that either side only had to give up less than 2% in spending cuts/revenue increases to come to the center of an agreement.
Cash strapped cities and states across this nation are having to make hard choices on taxes, education, police, fire safety, and community outreach programs that are 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% of their budgets. Many families are having to make similar cuts in their budgets. Yet our elected representatives in Washington can not come together to find 3.3% in annual spending reductions and revenue.
Let’s be grateful that these men and women in Washington are not working on our local police force, are not repairing our cars or taking care of our kids, are not putting out fires or fixing our plumbing, are not teaching our kids or doing electrical repairs in our homes. Could these elected representatives change a light bulb?