martes, 16 de agosto de 2011

A herculean task...

In the US, the twelve members of the newly created Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction have until November 23 to come up with a workable plan to achieve a US$1.5 trillion reduction in the deficit over the next ten years. The Committee can recommend measures to increase revenues as well as expenditure cuts.

The Committee is chaired by Senator Patty Murray (Dem., Washington). It is comprised of six Democrats (three senators and three representatives) and six Republicans (four senators and two representatives).

Why $1.5 trillion? Because when Congress agreed at the very last minute to raise the debt ceiling by US$2.4 trillion, they also agreed to cut US$0.9 billion (also over ten years).

Not only do seven of the twelve committee members have to agree on where to cut government expenditures, they have to come up with a plan that Congress will approve and that enjoys credibility in the markets and with the ratings agencies.

There are two reasons, apart from the market reaction to the budget brinksmanship, to think that the Select Committee might possibly manage to do what Congress and the President couldn't. One is that the plan, which must be voted on by December 23, is subject to an up or down, take it or leave it vote. Neither amendments nor filibusters will be allowed. That strategy worked in several decades ago when Congress confronted the politically tough question of which military bases to close in the US.

The other reason is that if the Committee doesn't come up with a plan or the plan is not approved, the government must automatically enact across the board spending cuts. The "trigger cuts" would hit both defense and domestic programs, the idea being that everybody's ox would get gored.

Here, courtesy of Catherine Rampell via Maplight, are the industry and organizations that  contributed most to the Select Committee's members.  ( 

Top 10 Industry Contributors to Supercommittee Members
Lawyers/Law Firms$31,529,149
Securities & Investment$11,221,416
Health Professionals$9,321,588
Real Estate$8,793,350
Misc. Business$7,902,021
Business Services$6,563,524
Women’s Issues$6,396,728

Top 10 Organization Contributors (PACs and Employees) to Supercommittee Members
Club for Growth$990,066
Microsoft Corp.$810,100
University of California$629,495
Goldman Sachs$592,684
EMILY’s List$586,835
Citigroup Inc.$561,081
JPMorgan Chase & Co.$494,316
Bank of America$349,566
Skadden, Arps, et al.$347,356
General Electric$340,935

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario