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Super committee is latest in a long line of debt solution attempts

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a member of the super committee, talks with reporters outside his office in the U.S. Capitol on November 19, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Jeremy Hobson: Barring a last minute break through, the so-called Congressional super committee will report failure this morning -- failure to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over ten years. The spin today will likely be that after the next election, it'll be easier for lawmakers to agree on a plan for the nation's finances.

But as Marketplace's Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale reports, we've heard that before.


John Dimsdale: The super committee was born out of last summer's crisis over increasing the government's authority to borrow. Despite dozens of high-level meetings between the White House and Congressional Republicans, the two sides could not find deficit reduction common ground.

Before that, there was the Gang of Six bipartisan Senators who tried unsuccessfully to bridge the differences. And that Gang was preceded by a presidentially-appointed Commission. It came up with a $4 trillion Grand Bargain that fell short of the required majority.

Andy Laperriere with ISI Group says the two parties have very different views on the role of government.

Andy Laperriere: The bottom line is Democrats don't want to vote to reduce entitlement spending by a meaningful amount and Republicans don't want to vote to raise taxes by a meaningful amount. So its difficult to get either of them to get off that position.

This latest attempt has a Plan B: automatic, across the board cuts in spending for both defense and domestic programs start January 2013. Unless the next Congress and the next president decide to change them.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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