Wednesday 21 February 2018

Tim Stanley: Taxpayer will end up the loser if 'Robin Hood' Obama wins votes

Tim Stanley

This week a congressional "super committee" announced that it had failed to agree on a way to reduce the US deficit by $1.2trillion (€890bn). Composed of six Republicans and six Democrats, it collapsed under the weight of ideological differences between the parties.

Politically, the winner of this debacle is Barack Obama, who will blame the Republicans for refusing to agree to significant tax increases. But the real loser is the American taxpayer. Not only have the Republicans and Democrats let them down, but their childish spat has exposed the true scope of the political and fiscal crisis facing America. The committee was a fraud: government spending is running wild and $1.2trn in savings would have done little to control it.

The committee was set up in August, after negotiations over how to tackle the debt crisis broke down. Republicans favoured spending cuts and reform of entitlements (unemployment and healthcare). Democrats preferred to repeal ex-president George W Bush's generous tax cuts. Part of the problem was that both sides were playing to their constituencies. It was hoped that a select panel of 12 could rise about the partisan fray and deliver a Solomonic solution.

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