Coming: Big Austerity Cuts - by Stephen Lendman
Big social spending cuts are coming, targeting entitlements.
The congressional August Budget Control Act of 2011 established the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction - aka Supercommittee.
Doing so was extralegal. The Constitution's Article 1, Section 8 explains congressional powers. None of them include supercommittee authority to resolve America's debt crisis.
Article 1, Section 8, Sub-section 18 lets Congress "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution (of its other listed Powers), and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department Officer thereof."
Even though government authority is limited only by the boundaries of possibility, no constitutional principle gives 12 members more power than others, let alone in secret.
Composed of six House and six Senate members from both parties, Supercommittee authority ran until November 23 to agree on $1.2 - $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. Consensus would have let Congress only vote them up or down without amendments, debate or delay.
Ahead of their deadline, 100 Democrats and Republicans wrote supercommittee members (the so-called "gang of 12") that "(t)o succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenue must be on the table." They, in fact, asked for agreement on $4 trillion in cuts.
In other words, they want deep social spending reductions, mainly Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and public pensions. In earlier negotiations, Obama agreed.