As noted previously, the deficit Super Committee is gridlocked largely because the GOP is unwilling to accept higher taxes on wealthy people as part of a compromise with Democrats that also cuts Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. But the parties also differ on the question of whether their recommendations should include any near term spending and/or tax cuts to give the weak economy a much-needed boost.
Recently committee Republicans and Democrats presented each other with competing plans — some details of which were leaked to the press. Aides note that the Dem plan contained about $300 billion in expansionary measures, while the GOP plan contained… well, see for yourself.
The GOP plan contained about $2.2 trillion in cuts — well over the $1.2 trillion minimum required of the Super Committee by the debt limit law. That left the Republicans ample room to include many kinds of near-term growth measures, but they picked none.
In the past, some Super Committee Republicans have contended that cutting spending is in and of itself a form of stimulus — expansionary austerity, if you will. But most experts dispute this idea, and Republicans themselves don’t even seem to believe it.
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 email@example.com.