The 12 members of the new joint deficit Super Committee will meet Thursday for its first hearing on the origins, drivers, and potential consequences of U.S. debt.
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For nearly all experts, this is a matter of settled fact. Most existing U.S. debt stems from a combination of Bush administration policies (massive tax cuts, unfunded wars), automatic consequences of the great recession (unemployment benefits, reduced revenues), and President Obama's stimulus bill. The key driver of future debt is health care costs, which will soon make Medicare unaffordable, and the ramifications, should policymakers fail to control the debt in the long run, would be economically catastrophic.
But for weeks, the committee's Republican co-chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) has been repeating a version of this talking point, from a recent official statement.