As Congress' supercommittee continues to play Russian Roulette with the pistol aimed squarely at the American taxpayer's head, it is interesting to note just how little they are charged with doing.
The committee is supposed to find ways to reduce the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion in the next 10 years. If it doesn't find at least $1.2 trillion by Nov. 23, automatic cuts of $100 billion per year will kick in beginning in fiscal year 2013.
Now to realize why we characterize their task as small potatoes, consider this:
The federal deficit this fiscal year alone is $1.3 trillion. Members of the supercommittee can't agree on ways to eliminate one year's deficit even if we allow them 10 years to do it. When viewed in that light, it becomes apparent this immense task they can't accomplish is a smokescreen to fool the American public into thinking they are honestly trying to solve the deficit crisis.
Assuming the members find the $1.5 trillion they can't yet agree on, at current rates of spending that would mean the deficit for the next 10 years will be $11.5 trillion instead of $13 trillion. Wow, that's some progress.
In short, if they accomplish the task we've given them - and do nothing more - the national debt in 2023 will be over $25 trillion. It is just over $14 trillion now.
So far, though, our super negotiators can't even agree to go that far. If the automatic cuts kick in, $100 billion per year will be withheld across the board from the federal budget. Let's see, the annual deficit is $1.3 trillion. So $100 billion in savings will cut the deficit by 7.7 percent per year.
The 2012 elections will give the American electorate a choice:
Are we going to keep sending political game players back to Washington or are we going to elect representatives who want to solve problems?
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.