Government Spending

The Important Thing About #SuperCommitteeFAIL is That Harry Reid & Chris Dodd Poured Whiskey on Ted Kennedy's Grave

|

From an interesting and dispiriting Politico account of why the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (a.k.a. SUPER COMMITTEE!) failed so miserably in coming up with a puny $1.2 trillion trims in net spending over the next decade:

In the thick of the negotiations, [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid…recalled the days when deal makers could bridge the partisan divide. He visited Ted Kennedy's grave in Arlington National Cemetery with former Sen. Chris Dodd. Dodd poured some whiskey on Kennedy's grave while Reid recited a prayer, the majority leader told lobbyists at a meeting, according to attendees. He told the group that he missed both men.

Dunno about the rest of you, but if Harry Reid, the very man who conjured up the idea of the Super Committee, was talking like that at meetings of "lobbyists," I would have starting booking flights for Greece from my smart phone. If that's what passes for the sort of leadership that "could bridge the partisan divide," well good night nurse.

In mid-October, with just five weeks until their deadline, each side produced "wish lists" to show where they were negotiating from….

House Republicans wanted to repeal Obama's health care law, implement the controversial House GOP budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), save $700 billion by block granting Medicaid, cut $400 billion in mandatory spending, slash another $1.4 trillion in other health care mandatory spending, save $150 billion by slicing the federal workforce and put a $60 billion cap on tort reform.

Republicans were no more pleased to see what Democrats wanted: the president's $447 billion jobs bill plus well over $1 trillion in new taxes.

Days later, Baucus went before the group to offer what Democrats considered major concessions: a $1.3 trillion plan to cut spending, including from health care entitlements, combined with a $1.3 trillion plan for new tax revenues. Things got heated quickly when Kyl offered a series of objections. Democrats later made the case that Kyl was a serious impediment in the talks, but Kyl said the GOP was giving ground—not the Democrats.

Key point in the above: "In mid-October, with just five weeks until their deadline…" That's a level of commitment familiar to every high school sophomore cramming four hours before the big exam.

Another major reason for failure, according to Politico, was the lack of Barack Obama's manifest interest in the process and an actual outcome (not surprising for a guy who hasn't kicked his party's ass to deliver a budget in the Senate in years), and lack of coordination between Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leading to division among the House and Senate Dem members of the committee.

Full Politico story.

The upside of any of this? It sets the table more clearly for a true discussion of the role of government in our lives. And it gives the American people—and a few select politicians, most notably Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who has authored a five year plan to balance the budget—at least a couple of months to demand smaller, more accountable government that spends within our means.

Recapping from Obama's budget (since slightly amended after boos but no details possible) and Paul Ryan's GOP budget, which passed the House:

President Obama wants to spend $3.7 trillion next year and $5.7 trillion in 2021.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) wants to spend $3.6 trillion next year and $4.7 trillion in 2021.

Rand Paul, bless his soul?

Rand Paul wants to spend $3.7 trillion next year and $3.4 trillion in 2016.

Read "Five Budgets for a Broke-Down and Busted Amerika."

NEXT: Reason Morning Links: Bradley Manning Will Get His Day in Court, Rick Perry Would Declare Libya on Syria, Pregnant Woman Pepper-Sprayed at Occupy Seattle Has Miscarried

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. did they drink it first?

    1. I hope so, I think it would be a more appropriate tribute to a person like Ted Kennedy to drink it and then, after it has been more fully processed pour it on his grave.

    2. They were on their second bottle. How do you think they ended up there in the first place?

  2. This makes perfect sense: If I’m looking for supernatural help to balance the budget, the very first thing I’m going to do is pour one out for my dead homey Ted Kennedy.

    1. no one could bridge a divide like TK.

    2. They were hoping that whiskey would re-animate Kennedy’s dead corpse.

  3. Fine way for a Mormon to behave…

    I’d like to honor the “Lion of the Senate” by urinating on his grave.

  4. Looks like being a KronyKoch pays-off.

    To: James W. Giddens, Trustee, SIPA Liquidation of MF Global, Inc. and Martin Glenn, United States Bankruptcy Judge

    From: Cathy Cuthbert

    RE: MF Global Heist

    I am a lucky, former MF Global client. Unfortunately, I’m not a multi-billionaire who got the memo. I had a modest account that was supplying me with a modest livelihood, when suddenly one Monday afternoon, my account was frozen, my livelihood was essentially gone and four years worth of trading profits vanished into cyber space….

    ________________
    What could destroy the market (and the religioeconomic dogma of “free” markets) more than a KronyKoch who got the memo just before the heist?

    “‘You better get some ice for that,’ Cathy.” ~Slick Kochie

    1. You do realize that in this case “got the memo” is a rhetorical expression?

      “Just before the heist” is an interesting term for “a month and a half before” as well.

      Tons of money left MG Global over a period of months, especially as Corzine advertized his desire to back Greek and Italian bonds, since “of course the EU will bail them out.”

      There’s been a huge slow moving bank run on Italian and Greek banks; not surprising that the same thing would happen to MG Global.

      Proving that someone who withdrew money did so for “the wrong reasons,” as opposed to simply not wanting to invest by proxy in Greek bonds, will be difficult.

      1. Tell it to the clawback judge.

        1. Tell it to the clawback judge.

          LOL–there haven’t been any prosecutions for securities fraud on the big banks since Obama and Holder took over, and you expect “clawback” to occur on MG? When it’s run by a major Democratic figurehead?

          You’re dumber than you look.

          1. Never underestimate Obama’s willingness to throw a homey under the bus to get a little traction.

      2. *MF Global. Man Financial spinoff. Just sayin’.

    2. So sue Corzine and pay better attention next time.

      1. …to libertarian Kronyism.

      2. …so flippantly around here.

        It’s because “free market” is mostly a fraud on the people to KOCHsuck money into higher, tighter, and righter hands.

        So sue me if you don’t like it.

        1. This is what you get when you trust a former politician with your money.

        2. Oh noes! Teh Kochtopus hz its tenaticuls into aaaaaavryting!

        3. It’s because “free market” is mostly a fraud on the people to KOCHsuck money into higher, tighter, and righter hands.

          Obama’s primary fundraiser is right-winger?! Who knew?

  5. A drunk zombie Ted Kennedy is the last thing we need right now. What is Reid thinking?

    They should propose burning dollars, that way the remaining ones will be worth more. If they burn enough, the budget will be in the millions not trillions. Problem solved.

    1. I thought they were already dumping money into the money hole…

  6. It cannot be said enough: For 2 years, the Dems controlled virtually the entire Federal government. They could have (and SHOULD have) easily passed 2-3 budgets. They passed exactly 0.

  7. Yes, what a loser! Couldn’t legislate his way out of a paper bag…

    The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
    The State Children’s Health Insurance Program
    The Mental Health Parity Act
    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
    The Civil Rights Act of 1991
    The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act
    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
    The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act
    The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985
    The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971
    National Cancer Act of 1971
    Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
    Etc, etc.

    1. Many of which we are now contributing to our national debt in one way or another.

      Yea! What a statesman!

    2. As a catalog of legislative disasters, it would be hard to top.

      1. Really? Such as?

        1. Such as the legislation that we had borrow money from China to pay for the implementation of.

          1. Think I’ll just let that one stand on its own.

            1. So you agree they are all legislative disasters then? Good to know. Welcome to our side!

              1. Can’t you read, PIRS?
                No child left behind
                Civil Rights
                The goodness IS RIGHT THERE IN THE TITLE!

                1. Time out you two: Do you really think your comments are bringing anything to the table? Whether you agree with me or not, why not pepper your stuff with some examples, facts, educate me and others? Make the comments section something a little like journalism? There may be a reason you don’t do this, but if so, I’d really like to know why. Granted, my original comment was mildly sarcastic, but I tried to show you where I was coming from with examples I bet you didn’t know entirely about (I didn’t until I looked them up). Is that something you’re interested in? If not, what’s the point?

                  1. Ben,

                    In case you are unaware even seemingly benign pieces of legislation cost money – either due to payouts or enforcement or both. Yes, even wonderful sounding things like “Leave no child left behind” cost money. Secondly most of these things are not authorized by the United States Constitution. Thirdly, we are deeply in debt, in case you have not noticed.

                    Need I say more?

                    1. Well, yes. At least I’d prefer you did. You’re still stating “truisms”/opinion. I’d like to see your facts. Identifiable. What you’re stating is really the kind of “from the gut” opinion without backing that in my opinion flows way too freely.

                    2. Ben,
                      It seems you are doing exactly that. Merely naming a list of things that sound good doesn’t merit an acceptance that those things were: a) a legitimate and legal use of federal authority. b) actually effective at accomplishing anything meaningful in a cost-efficient way. c) justify indebting future generations with wish lists of stuff we want to do now but not pay for.

                      You will find that few on this board will accept “a” as legit using general welfare or commerce clause arguments that the federal government can do anything it wants, “b” usually doesn’t work out when money is being spent by bureacrats, and “c” is immoral.

                    3. And incidentally, yes, I’m aware legislation costs money to implement. That sort of statement from you really demeans the person on the other side of the conversation. I don’t think at heart that’s what you’re looking to accomplish. Is it?

                    4. And I apologize in advance; duty calls so I won’t be able to get back here until this evening.

                    5. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

                      This is the text of the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

                      The powers delegated to the United States do not authorize the federal government to enact legislation such as:
                      The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
                      The State Children’s Health Insurance Program
                      The Mental Health Parity Act
                      The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
                      The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act
                      The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
                      The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act
                      National Cancer Act of 1971

                      Notice that I did delete some of them from the list. There are some laws that are authorized, just not most of the list.

                      I challenge you to show me where in the actual U.S. Constitution any of the remaining laws I list above are authorized. Notice I am not asking for a Supreme Court decision. I am asking for text in the actual U.S. Constitution.

    3. Nice list of turds.

      1. Thanks for sharing!

    4. It’s a great day when titles are laid out a successes.

  8. Am I supposed to be sad or upset that the SuperComitte failed? What does the dayorder say? What feeling is doubleplusgood today?

    1. Congratulations.

      1. While Reason does have its own tilt, it does not pretend to be anything other than what it is. It does not pretend to be Objective. I was more referring to much of the rest of the media. Everything from MSNBC to Fox New’s morning program “Fox & Friends” was bemoaning the “failure” of our great statesman on Capitol Hill. Both supposedly conservative and supposedly “liberal” media outlets are very upsetl

  9. I think the Super Committee was a huge Democratic . . . (wait for it). . . success. It accomplished a number of their goals:

    (1) No spending was cut. The fake sequesters are still more than a year out, and can be undone by a lame duck Congress and/or a the next Congress.

    (2) It allows Obama to continue running against a do-nothing Congress, which seems to be his only plan at this point.

    (3) Notice how all the chatter for the last few weeks has been about various proposals to increase tax revenues/tax rates? Nobody has been talking about cutting spending. That’s a win for the Dems.

    1. Of course the long-term blame could fall directly into Obama’s lap – failure to lead, can’t get a handle on spending, blah blah… I don’t have a handle on which direction that wind is blowing.

      1. I’ve been in organizations with some really talentless leaders, people who couldn’t lead themselves out of a paperbag with GPS, a flashlight, and a giant flashing sign that pointed the way out. In these organizations the leader’s MO is to first blame their staff for failing. And the staff will usually take that hit because that’s what they do. But eventually you run out of humans to shield yourself with. Poor leadership is almost always exposed… it can just take a long time.

        1. But eventually you run out of humans to shield yourself with. Poor leadership is almost always exposed… it can just take a long time.

          Your experience sounds nearly identical to mine. Unfortunately, a lot of corpses pile up before the leadership goes. And all too often, they go with a big fat severance packages.

    2. It allows Obama to continue running against a do-nothing Congress, which seems to be his only plan at this point.

      Everyone is saying this, but I have a hard time believing he’s that stupid about a campaigning strategy. He is a good campaigner.

      Congress was completely controlled by his party for his first two years, and the Senate is still majority Democrat and they haven’t passed any of his stuff either. Yes, the MSM will regurgitate whatever BS the administration wants them to, but they’re not *that* influential anymore.

      1. There’s a republican holed up in a shack with no phone somewhere in Montana that’s to blame.

  10. House Republicans wanted to repeal Obama’s health care law, implement the controversial House GOP budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), save $700 billion by block granting Medicaid, cut $400 billion in mandatory spending, slash another $1.4 trillion in other health care mandatory spending, save $150 billion by slicing the federal workforce and put a $60 billion cap on tort reform.

    Republicans were no more pleased to see what Democrats wanted: the president’s $447 billion jobs bill plus well over $1 trillion in new taxes.

    Days later, Baucus went before the group to offer what Democrats considered major concessions: a $1.3 trillion plan to cut spending, including from health care entitlements, combined with a $1.3 trillion plan for new tax revenues.

    Bit of bias showing in the article? Hard to take the article seriously when this is how it frames the initial wish-lists from the parties.

    Hopefully Turkey Day will stop all the hand-wringing about this. I am tired of hearing about spending “cuts” when those in Washington obviously have no idea what the word means.

    1. Woowee 2.5 trillion. So easy.

      Reality says we would end up paying 200 million and saving nothing.

  11. $3.7 trillion next year and $3.4 trillion in 2016.

    “It’s moidah, is what it is!”

  12. I just cannot help wondering who those “lobbyists” represented. Defense contractors? Insurance companies and medical device manufacturers> AFSCME?

    1. Distillers.

      1. When he talked to the pharmaceutical lobbyists, he claimed he dropped some Viagra in to the grave during the funeral.

  13. But more importantly, where’s Batman’s mask?

  14. He visited Ted Kennedy’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery with former Sen. Chris Dodd. Dodd poured some whiskey on Kennedy’s grave while Reid recited a prayer, the majority leader told lobbyists at a meeting, according to attendees.

    Fuckin LOL–“MOURN YA TILL I JOIN YA, HOMEY!”

    1. That’s what I thought – maybe he should have poured out a forty.

  15. Sounds like the beginning of a voodoo ritual.

    What other material components does voodoo need in a ceremony like this? Are chickens involved? Do you need some hairs from Kennedy’s head? strips torn from the seat of his Oldsmobile?

  16. Do they hear prayers in Hell?

    1. if a prayer falls in hell, do it make noise ?

  17. Also, that’s a violation of DC’s open container laws.

    If you’re a pair of white senators, it’s gets a fluff piece write-up. If you’re a poor old crippled black man with a sharp tongue, it gets you a serious ass whipping.

    1. I thought Arlington National Cemetery was in Virginia.

      The “Arlington” seems to be a bit of a clue.

      1. I know it is, but it fucks up my meme.

      2. And yeah, the jurisdictional error in my point should certainly overshadow the fact that the cops beat the shit out of some poor old guy and used “open container and a smart mouth” as their excuse.

        BTW, the charges against the man were dropped because there was no open container. His lawsuit against the DC police is pending. The officers are still on duty and were not charged with any crime or “misconduct.”

        1. As a practical matter, would you want an unemployed cop with a history of violence roaming the streets?

      3. Are you allowed to have open containers at National Monuments? We already know you’re not allowed to dance, so I wonder how far the Park Puritans have run with things.

  18. Two gangstas pourin’ some for their homie.

  19. Harry Reid is always the diplomat when it comes to negotiating but it looks he was able to do nothing with this super committee debate. We won’t get nothing done till 2012 elections are done and we find a real leader to be President.

    1. Do you know who else applied the leadership principle?

      That’s right, Tom Peters.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.