When Congress and the administration couldn’t reach a meeting of the minds over the deficit, a bipartisan Super Committee on the federal debt was formed in July. This committee was compromised of 12 members and directed to come up with $1.2 trillion in savings to avoid a severe round of automatic government budget cuts. The cuts would affect Medicaid, education, food safety, transportation, and defense, and would take place January 2013.
The deadline for the plan was November 22, and to no one’s surprise the Super Committee failed. Of course, Democrats and Republicans blamed at each other for the inability of the committee to find a way to make the cuts. President Obama was also blamed for the failure of the Super Committee because of what some say was his refusal to help the Super Committee as it attempted to reach an agreement on reducing the federal budget deficit. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) stated: “The president actively made our jobs more difficult. He issued veto threats.”
Democrats on the committee wanted to raise taxes before they cut any dollars. Republicans wanted the Bush tax cuts to remain, with Democrats claiming that the most significant block to doing anything is the GOP’s commitment to the Grover Norquist pledge (no tax increases) and extending the Bush tax cuts.
What does the American public want when it comes to taxes? A CNN poll released in November found that 67% of all Americans and 69% of Independents side with Democrats and believe that taxes should be raised on businesses and the wealthy. When asked what they thought should be included in the Super Committee’s deficit reduction proposal, over two thirds (67%) of those surveyed thought the proposal should contain a tax increase on businesses and higher income Americans. Only 32% believed that it shouldn’t.
Most Americans (60%) also want to see major cuts in spending on domestic government programs, while at the same time most (57%) don’t want to see major changes to Social Security and Medicare.