Mark Thoma, in a column in the Fiscal Times, wonders why we don't have a Super Committee for Job Creation:
The bipartisan Super Committee trying to forge a politically acceptable path for deficit reduction ended in a super fail, and one of the big reasons... is disagreement over the extension of the Bush tax cuts for high income households.
[Democrats]... argue that the present tax structure places too little burden on the wealthy and too much on the middle and lower classes, and therefore the expiration of the Bush tax cuts... would make taxes more progressive and more equitable without endangering the recovery. Allowing the cuts to expire would also provide $800 billion in revenue over the next ten years and this would help preserve important social programs.
The failure... to come to agreement on the Bush tax cuts does not end the battle... If Congress does nothing... the two percent payroll tax cut [will] expire in December, and extended jobless assistance [will] also [expire].
I don't expect Republicans to put the unemployed at the forefront of their policy agenda. It comes as no surprise that they would insist on tax cuts for the wealthy despite their purported concern for the deficit, and then sing a different tune for the working class...
But I do expect Democrats to be the champions of the poor, the underprivileged, and the unemployed. When... did the need for deficit reduction... come to be more important than the needs of households struggling with the recession? Why aren't Democrats talking about the need to help the unemployed at every possible opportunity? Where's the Super Committee for Job Creation?
President Obama and many Democratic members of Congress have endorsed the idea that budget deficits are biggest threat we face... and this has helped to convince the public that the national debt is our biggest concern, and that we simply do not have the resources to.. help with job creation.
The main cause of our present deficit is a combination of the recession, the Bush tax cuts, and wars, and those three items will continue to be the main source of deficits in the near future. But Democrats have allowed Republicans to portray the problem as out of control spending on social programs that require super special commissions to resolve immediately, and it will be difficult to change that perception now....
But it's important that Democrats at least try since any success at all would make a huge difference to the unemployed... I would like to see Democrats adopt a tougher stance on the need for higher income households to pay more in taxes so that important social programs can be preserved. But right now our main problem is the unemployment crisis.