What if the Supercommittee Was Under a Pay-for-Performance Contract?

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…like so many nonprofits are? Maybe then it would have gotten its appointed work done. Where is the accountability process for these kinds of high stakes endeavors by our elected officials? Supercommittee co-chairs Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Jeb Hensarling said in their joint statement announcing the demise of the supercommittee,

“After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline..


“Despite our inability to bridge the committee’s significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation’s fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve… 

“We are deeply disappointed that we have been unable to come to a bipartisan deficit reduction agreement…”

Hard work?  The committee hadn’t even met as a body since November 1st until some last minute scurrying around on Monday afternoon.  We don’t see a lot of performance for their pay.

On the other hand, OMB Watch wrote on its blog today that the committee’s failure means that the country has essentially “dodged a bullet”: “After months of meeting behind closed doors, with Democratic members making offers that would have eroded entitlement protections for the elderly and with Republicans offering few concessions on taxes on the wealthy, the Super Committee has called it quits. This is a good thing. Now it’s time for Congress to address the real causes of the growing federal debt: the 2001 tax cuts, war spending, and the unemployment crisis.” 

President Barack Obama’s statement at the supercommittee’s virtual wake was similar:“(T)he question right now is whether we can reduce the deficit in a way that helps the economy grow…Now, in the meantime, we’ve got a lot of work left to do this year…(W)e have to work together to cut taxes for workers and small business owners all across America…We still need to put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads and our bridges. We still need to put our teachers back in the classroom educating our kids.”

Do you think it was a disaster for America that the nation’s two political parties found themselves unable to meet Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s challenge that, for the supercommittee, failure was not an option?  Or that, despite the automatic spending cuts that will be triggered, it is actually good for America that the supercommittee’s torturous stalemate has gone by the boards?

What do you think?

  • Gail Coleman

    It’s very simple. They come to a stalemate and let automatic cuts take over. Then they go home for the holidays,satisfied that none of them has to take responsibility for this. They just blame the other side while Americans suffer.

  • Lisa

    Whatever happens, we need to ensure our members of congress continue to protect our safety net programs.

    – Lisa
    Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, CA