We Answer The Burning Question: Why Did The Supercommittee Fail?By Luis Prada
Today will mark the official death of the experiment to bridge the divide between the left and the right in America, as the 12-member super committee that was formed to work out a debt reduction deal will announce that the past few months they’ve spent working on a deal has produced the exact same number of world-saving ideas as I have come up with in the same amount of time: zero. But, to be fair to myself, a couple of weeks ago I did come up with an idea for some badass van art, featuring a dragon with big tits punching Zeus as he rides a motorcycle made of souls. (The motorcycle also has big tits). It may not exactly be “world-saving”, but did you hear of the super committee walking out of a 10 hour meeting with some badass van art sketches? Nope! You didn’t. Therefore, I am better than the super committee.
Many analysts and insiders will try to blame one side or another in an attempt to gain some political points and to try make the other side look like petulant children that are unwilling to change their ways and abandon everything they believe so that they may openly accept ideas they in no way agree with. Depending on where you go for your news, I guarantee you will hear some variation on this fill-in-the-blank sentence:
“The blame for this fiasco falls squarely on the shoulders of (the political party the speaker of this sentence is directly and ideologically opposed to).”
This person will be correct in their assessment, but only if you examine the super committee’s failure from a Left vs. Right perspective. You shouldn’t blame the people or parties involved as much as you should blame the overall political environment both parties have created in the past decade. Also, you should blame the very idea of a super committee.
The super committee was a pie-in-the-sky idea from the start. For those that aren’t entirely sure what the committee was or what it was supposed to do, here it is:
As a part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, republicans and democrats were to handpick 6 members of their House and Senate that they felt would best represent and defend and fight for their respective party’s ideas and, ultimately, to come to some form agreement with their other side. These 12 members were then charged with the task of writing a bill that would reduce the nation’s debt by at least $1.2 trillion, with every aspect of the budget on the table – from Medicare to military spending, to tax cuts/tax hikes.
And there in-lies the problem.
Both parties interpreted the selection process as meaning, “Pick the members of your political party that will fight tooth and nail for everything your party believes.” Allowing both parties to handpick their own representatives allowed both parties to handpick the most ideologically unwavering members of their own party. In other words, each side of the committee created a Dream Team of hard-headed, ideologue assholes. If the past decade was filled with politics in which no one can agree with each other and everyone thinks the other side is destroying America, as if the other side were a crime syndicate of comic book super villains, telling each party to hand pick 6 of their members for the creation of a super committee is telling them to essentially boil down their contribution to the poisoned political environment in to a single concentrated, highly potent brew of unreasonable, talking point-spouting dicks.
The way it works in Washington these days is, I’m 100% right about everything and anything you say is wrong because, as I just mentioned, I’m right. So you can’t possibly also be right if I’m the one that’s right, which implies that you are not. At all.
When you gather together politicians from any party and basically tell them to defend their party’s ideals to the death and not let the fact that they have to work side-by-side with their political adversaries, that’s exactly what’s going to happen – everyone fights for what they want and ignore what everyone else wants.
The failure of the Supercommitte was like watching a research lab conduct an experiment on a small scale to better understand a large scale phenomenon. On the small scale you can much more carefully observe the results, as opposed to the large scale when things can get muddled and hard to follow. The Supercommitte was the small scale experiment. The thing is, small scale experiments usually happen before the large scale; not years after the large scale experiment has been conducted. So the end result is something we already knew: these people hate each other.