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Liberals Slam Super Committee Dems For Caving On Taxes -- But Did They?

Newscom / Bill Clark

"If you think that promise has any credibility whatsoever - if you have any doubts that the end result would be to gut Social Security and actually cut taxes for the wealthy - I have this Nigerian bank account that can be yours if you send me $100,000 in expenses," wrote Paul Krugman.

The advocacy group MoveOn emailed members Monday, urging them to call Super Committee Dems and tell them any plan that doesn't raise taxes on the rich right out the gate is unacceptable.

If you needed proof that Washington is still ignoring the 99%, just read this morning's New York Times.

It reports that members of the congressional Super Committee--which is supposed to release its plan to reduce the deficit in just nine days--are looking for ways to agree to deep cuts to social programs now but defer any decisions about how to raise taxes until next year.

That's a recipe for total disaster.

But as I noted last week, Democrats aren't offering to simply take the GOP at their word. Their plan is to make any cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security part of a trigger that would only be pulled if and when Congress passes hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue.

Multiple Democratic aides confirm their strategy hasn't changed: Dems will only support this sort of two-step tax reform process if there are serious revenue guarantees and the deal includes a trigger to make sure the revenue materializes.

If that sounds a little Rube Goldbergish to you, it is. But both parties have basically agreed that the Super Committee wouldn't have enough time between its launch and its deadline to write a full overhaul of the tax code. So Dems are privately insisting that any future promised revenue come with more than a promise. If the GOP can't deliver the votes for it, then the safety net cuts they want disappear. That's not to predict that they'll stick with this demand until the bitter end -- for liberal groups, vigilance is key.

But the Hensarling comments don't on their own indicate that Dems have once again preemptively ceded their leverage.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at