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Blame game

"Blame game" Continued...

Already lawmakers have vowed to fight them.

"I will not be the armed services chairman who presides over crippling our military," said Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., who plans to introduce legislation soon to stop the cuts. "Our military has already contributed nearly half a trillion to deficit reduction. Those who have given us so much have nothing more to give."

Obama pledged to veto any efforts to repeal the automatic spending cuts, which also include about $500 billion in reductions to domestic spending.

"There will be no easy off ramps on this one," the president said Monday. "We need to keep the pressure up to compromise … not turn off the pressure. The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. That's exactly what they need to do. That's the job they promised to do. And they've still got a year to figure it out."

Lawmakers do have a year to figure it out. But it is an election year, and a presidential election year at that. Those are the times that partisan differences become more calcified rather than less so.

In fact, Congress has had an entire non-election year to make significant progress in reducing the deficit. But in the end, even finding $1.2 trillion worth of agreement proved insurmountable. Meanwhile, as political will continues to falter, government debt now stands at $15 trillion-or more than 12 times larger than what the supercommittee could not cut.

Listen to a report on the supercommittee's failure on WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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