Debt Ceiling Negotiators Propose a "Super Congress" To Do the Dirty Work and Avoid the Wrath of Voters → Washingtons Blog
Debt Ceiling Negotiators Propose a "Super Congress" To Do the Dirty Work and Avoid the Wrath of Voters - Washingtons Blog

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Debt Ceiling Negotiators Propose a "Super Congress" To Do the Dirty Work and Avoid the Wrath of Voters

Huffington Post reports:

Debt ceiling negotiators think they've hit on a solution to address the debt ceiling impasse and the public's unwillingness to let go of benefits such as Medicare and Social Security that have been earned over a lifetime of work: Create a new Congress.

This "Super Congress," composed of members of both chambers and both parties, isn't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but would be granted extraordinary new powers.


Legislation approved by the Super Congress ... would then be fast-tracked through both chambers, where it couldn't be amended by simple, regular lawmakers, who'd have the ability only to cast an up or down vote. With the weight of both leaderships behind it, a product originated by the Super Congress would have a strong chance of moving through the little Congress and quickly becoming law. A Super Congress would be less accountable than the system that exists today, and would find it easier to strip the public of popular benefits.

Michael Rivero comments:

This article is correct. The Constitution does not provide for such a sham. This group of 12 will do the dirty work so that the rest of Congress can evade the wrath of the voters in 2012. No doubt the 6 Senators will not be up for re-election in 2012 while the 6 house members will either be impossible to defeat or predicted to lose anyway no matter what they do.


  1. Nonsensical idea. It just amounts to saying that if a country has a more dictatorial government, things get done quicker and with less argument. True: no one argued with Stalin or Saddam Hussein, did they?

    The central problem currently is that economic decisions are being mixed with and confused with political decisions. That is, Congress has a say on aggregate demand in that it can determine the size of the deficit. This is something that politicians are totally unqualified to pass judgement on: most of them haven’t got past page one of an introductory economics text book.

    The question as to whether inflation is subdued enough to warrant extra demand should be taken by the central bank (or any committee of independent economists). In contrast, the decision as to what proportion of GDP is allocated to the public sector, and how that money allocated to different government departments, states, etc are legitimate political questions which should be the preserve of elected politicians.

    A nice illustration of the economic illiteracy of politicians (and the author of the Huffington article) is that they think cutting public spending will result in public spending being cut. Yep, that’s right. The evidence is that cutting public spending does not cut public spending. Economics is way beyond the comprehension of politicians (and half the country’s economists). Re the latter point on public spending cuts, see:

  2. As the final hammer blow is truck, and the whoosh of air from the 9 pounder cools our fevered brow, the last nail in the coffin that was democracy is slapped home. I can’t believe it’s happening, the dream is dead and the only way now is down. Good luck everyone.

  3. I don't think it would be Constitutional for Congress to delegate its authority in such a manner as to restrict its own members' power.

  4. It would seem that the glory daze toxin that has gone around is now coming around.

  5. I could be mistaken, but:

    None of the House or Senate rules is in the Constitution. This sounds like a conference committee, the difference being that the Senate hasn't yet (I think) passed their own version of the bill. Amendments that are added without going through a committee usually equate to pork, so I'm not sure what's bad about restricting amendments.

    Fast tracking bills is something that congressional leadership routinely does. The bill still has to come before both full chambers for a vote.

    The real story continues to be that the government borrowed from Social Security and Medicare, and now that it is short of money it has decided not to pay it back. Instead of repaying its own people, it's paying insolvent banks, speculators, and foreign investors, all of whom at least had a choice about risking their money. We didn't.

    Politicians and the media repeatedly and shamelessly lie, saying that Social Security and Medicare add to the federal deficit. These people should be in jail. They are complicit in the greatest theft in the history of the world. They think if they put on a circus for long enough, their victims will eventually forget that they used to have the things that were stolen.

    The only constitutional check on the federal government is the state legislatures. If we don't start mass protests at our state capitols soon, we are going to be continuously worse off until we finally hit bottom.


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