Members of the deficit Super Committee are still meeting, still talking, but for all intents and purposes, negotiations have stalled. The underlying difficulty remains the GOP's unwillingness to agree to raise significant new tax revenue, enough to match Democrats' willingness to cut spending on popular programs like Medicare and Social Security. But with days ticking down quickly until the panel's November 23 deadline, each party is claiming that the ball is in the other's court.
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One of the most recent offers, the details of which were leaked to the press earlier this week, came from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). It's been characterized by Republicans as a plan that would raise $300 billion in new revenue, Republicans say, by limiting certain tax preferences. But it also would require reducing, and making permanent, Bush-era tax rates for high income earners -- a requirement Democrats oppose. Additionally, the overall revenue figure may be the product of a controversial "dynamic" model, which assumes that the tax changes will lead to economic growth.
Democrats have applauded Republicans for finally acknowledging that higher net tax revenues need to be part of the committee's overall mix. But they've also rejected the offer as not serious, and wildly dismissive of Dem demands that the panel reduce deficits nearly as much by rolling back spending on safety net programs as by requiring wealthier Americans to pay higher taxes.