It’s a sad sign that a committee of 12 has had to be appointed to try to deal with the debt crisis in America, the result of Congress’ inability to move the country forward during these trying times. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, composed of six Democrats and six Republicans, is charged with devising a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, and if it fails, then automatic cuts are to take place. We recall that the last time such a committee was formed, headed by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, Congress ignored its proposals, many of which made perfect sense but were politically volatile. And if there’s one thing we can observe about many of our elected officials in Washington, it’s that they lack the backbone to take on controversial issues.
The initial take on the makeup of the new committee isn’t promising, with most of the nine members chosen so far hewing strictly to party line. With three still to be selected by Nancy Pelosi, there isn’t a lot of hope that the board will contain people who are willing to work across party lines to get something done. There are moderate Democrats and Republicans (not many of either) who could have been appointed and effective on such a commission. Not surprisingly, they weren’t picked.
The deficit’s effect on the American economy had in many ways been philosophical until the stock market’s precipitous fall following the downgrade of the U. S. credit rating. Trillions of dollars in value have been lost since then. If this committee isn’t able to come up with a workable plan that Congress will support, we in Kershaw County -- and our fellow Americans across the country -- can expect continued economic turmoil.