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November 29th, 2010
05:56 PM ET

Deficit commission a pointless exercise?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama's deficit commission may be dead on arrival.

Apparently the differences among members are so great that the toothless, bipartisan commission canceled its last scheduled meeting tomorrow. Instead, they'll meet one-on-one and try to twist some more arms before the panel's final recommendations are due Wednesday.

A piece on Politico.com asks if the panel was doomed from the start. After months of reports about how bitterly divided the commission members are - it's hard to imagine that 14 of the 18 members will come to a consensus on much of anything meaningful.

And, this being Washington, there's plenty of finger pointing to go around.

There are the Republicans who co-sponsored the bill to create this commission and then voted against it.

Some even wonder if President Obama himself designed the commission to fail... to save him from making the tough decisions.

He set the December 1 deadline - which meant decisions about the deficit wouldn't factor into the midterm elections. Also, the president has ruled out tax increases for 98 percent of taxpayers.

As for the panel itself, Republican members have made it clear they don't want to consider tax increases... while Democrats don't want to touch Social Security - leaving precious little common ground.

All this makes it increasingly difficult to believe this commission will make a serious dent in our $13 trillion-plus deficit.

Nonetheless, some close to the commission are sounding upbeat - saying they've made significant progress in the last week and that they've "got a chance."

Don't bet on it.

Here’s my question to you: Was the deficit commission a pointless exercise from the start?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mike in Denver writes:
Let's see, a government-funded group tasked to find out where the government is wasting money? Their commission should have topped the list. Everyone knows where the problems are, but no one wants to get their hands dirty solving the problems.

Wilhelm writes:
When the president, Senate or Congress doesn't have the political will or backing from their voters to actually DO something after an event like 9-11, they just "kick the can down the road" with a really big show commission. History shows us that very few of their "recommendations" actually ever get implemented. It's nothing but "political theater" that is a waste of time AND money.

John in Alabama writes:
The only pointless thing about the deficit commission is the need for 14 votes out of 18 to bring it forward for final consideration of Congress. I believe 10 votes should be enough for government. Changes to the entitlement programs should affect those entering the work force in 2014.

Dick writes:
I just saw the senator-elect from Illinois this morning on national TV. He said he wanted tax cuts for the rich because otherwise the country would go into a double dip recession. In the next sentence, he said the unemployment benefits extensions had to be paid for with other social program cuts. If we keep electing these morons, any commission or reasonable idea is pointless.

Paulette in Pennsylvania writes:
It is a total waste of time. It exists only so Obama can say he did "something".

Joe in Houston writes:
Re-election requires scapegoats to excuse unpopular decisions. Therefore, the deficit commission is not pointless.

Cheryl in Bluffton, South Carolina writes:
At least the commission's findings have started a national conversation about realistic ways to cut the deficit. Will the politicians treat us like grownups and actually implement some of the good ideas put forward? One can only dream.


Filed under: Budget cuts • Deficit
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Matt

    Yes it was a pointless exercise because Washington really is not serious about stopping excessive spending. The next session of Congress will shortly tell us if the newly elected folks are the same as who is there now.

    Matt
    Rockford, IL

    November 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  2. Annie D.

    The right-leaning deficit commission was a foregone conclusion from the start. They want grandma eating cat food while giving yacht owners a tax break. Why do they always look to the ones with the least to give the most?

    November 29, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Of course. The administration has no intention of doing all of those recommended cuts, or even anything remotely close.

    November 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  4. Jim

    Jack,

    I don't think so. American politics being what it is, especially in the pit of continuous electioneering into which the United States seems to have fallen, it is no surprise that legislative responses to the recommendations of the deficit commission will be slow. We have only ourselves to blame for this. Still, the commission's recommendations are grounded in fact and represent careful analysis of conditions and options by experts. If they seep slowly into future legislation by quiet back doors, they can still do some good.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    November 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  5. jenny - va.

    no, but obama was .. why is he pulling the rug out from under hardworking white middle class while trying to force low class welfare into our homes..this isnt south africa... goddamn uncle sam and the liberals

    November 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  6. Herman Portland OR

    I hope not. The information at the very least is good information and brings transparency and possible solutions to our government spending. You always hear the spending argument not the accountability or how we will pay for the spending arument.

    November 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  7. JAB from MO

    No. The deficit commission laid out some of the hard choices. That a first step.

    November 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  8. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    This sounds like a creation where ghosts ate sent out to all couches and chairs in the world to find undiscovered and forgotten money.

    November 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  9. Pat in michigan

    Yes .Any commision without the power to enforce the solution is just one more dog and pony show for a deluded public.

    November 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  10. David Alexandria VA

    No. The deficit commission (and the Rivelin counterpart) have put some critical stakes in the ground - how deep the trouble is and how significant the steps will need to be to address it. It is clear that "taxing the rich" isn't going to get anyone past the next election; and neither is " no new taxes on anyone aking less than $250K." Cherry-picking this plan is not going top work.

    We're all in this together and need to hold our politicians accountable for balanced solutions.

    November 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  11. Joanie

    Jack, it won't be pointless if Congress will listen to the Deficit Council. We think the American people are ready for some common sense solutions. However, Congress must stop spending money frivolously.
    For every $1.00 that is taxed they say the Congress spends $1.13 – and so how does increasing taxes help? Makes the matter worse as we have frivolous leaders leading.
    They say the 832 Billion Dollars Stimulus worked – if that is the case why has our unemployment gone up from 7.9% to 9.6%. Americans we believe are much smarter than the leaders who "bought" their positions. That must stop !
    Joanie
    Wi

    November 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  12. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Yes i think it was a mistake or at best a futile effort by the government to appear to be doing something. It gave the illusion of propriety but served no useful purpose what so ever. In my opinion it was just another waste of tax dollars. As of August 6th of this year the federal deficit was at 1.2 trillion dollars. Since Obama took office that is an increase of 1 trillion dollars. That sound like the deficit commission is working to you?

    November 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  13. mary winters

    Jack,

    A novel idea for cutting the deficit. The current salary for the 535 rank & file members of the house and senate is now $174,000. How about a $25,000 pay cutt for each member. If my math is correct that would be a savings of $13,375,000 per year. I don't know of anyone in my community that hasn't cut back or has been forced to cut back. Isn't it time our elected leaders lead by example. Insead of voting themselves a pay raise,
    it's time for the American people's employees to scale back.

    November 29, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  14. John from Alabama

    Jack: No the deficit commission is a realistic look at our spending. We should cut out earmarks all together, and reduce our spending in defense, and general administration by 40% over the next 5 years. The only pointless thing about the deficit commission is the need for 14 votes out of 18 to bring it forward for final consideration of Congress. I believe 10 votes should be enough for government. Changes to the entitlement programs should effect those entering the work force in 2014.

    November 29, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  15. Greg M.

    Jack,
    The GOP already said that no matter what,they WILL NOT pass a budget and WILL blame it on Obama.Even though they have told everybody that,will the righties really 'get it'?Or will they blame Obama also?Very strange tactic.Anyhow,why waste time and/or money on something which will not go through no matter what?
    Greg M. Largo,FL

    November 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  16. explainer

    Good exercise. They were consultants without portfolio which allowed them to identify potential solutions independent of responsibility. What is done about it is up to Congress and others.

    NOTE: Those who think the status quo is hunky dory are suffering the worst kind of cognitive petrifaction.

    Consider this: When the retirement age for Social Security was set at sixty five in 1935, life expectancy was about sixty for men and sixty four for women. Today it's about seventy four for men and seventy eight for women. It doesn't take a genius to realize that this needs to be addressed.

    We can take care of this now or let our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren suffer later. Not the kind of legacy I prefer.

    Las Cruces, NM

    November 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  17. Craig R. McNees

    tampa, fl come on jack, how else would relatives of our politicians get a job these days?

    November 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  18. Pisher from Harrisburg

    Americans are going to need to become disciplined as individuals and as a society. We are educated to believe what we want is what we need to have emerged as a glutonous, self-absorbed society where we somehow or another think we can do things with "other people's money." We lack the discipline to live within our means and it will be our undoing as a society.

    November 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  19. MNResident

    Jack, the deficit commission employed a bunch of governmental yahoos on the taxpayer dime, accomplished nothing, and left people ouside of government frustrated at the whole process. In other words, it did exactly what most of the rest of government does. Therefore, if the commission was pointless, then most of government is pointless, as well......

    November 29, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  20. Russ in PA

    I think the question is hilarious: the commission is a scam, just like every other commission the government sets up. After all, setting up a commission lets more cronies make money for nothing. If politicians were serious about dealing with their deficit and debt, all they have to do is deal with it: end the FED, cut spending by 20% for all departments, and end the wars. Of course, no one but Ron Paul really wants to do any of that...

    November 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  21. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack our congress can not even pass a budget so how can we expect them to oversee a deficit commission? They sure as hell can't live within a budget that they do propose. Yeah this was a pointless exercise in futility. Not one of them has demonstrated that they can exercise fiscal restraint. Not even one.

    November 29, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  22. Andy in Vancouver, BC

    Of course it was a waste. It did have good intentions, but in the end missed the mark. That said, expecting any deficit cutting from either party is silly. The democrats won't touch any government programs like Medicare or Social Security, and the GOP wants to extend the same tax cuts we've had that have helped to rack up debt over the last decade. Neither one is willing to make their cuts, and neither is willing to compromise. The end result? a whole lot of nothing.

    November 29, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  23. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    ALL so called "commissions" are pointless exercises and have been for decades, Jack.

    when the President, Senate or Congress doen't have the political will or backing from their voters to actually DO something after an event like 9-11 or what ever, they just "kick the can down the road" with a "really big show" commission. history shows us that very few of their "recommendations" actually ever get implemented.

    it's nothing but "Political Theater" that is a waste of time AND money.

    November 29, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  24. James Collins

    If the President freezes Federal civilian pay, and with a zero CPI meaning Federal / veterans / Social Security retirees increases are frozen, will Congress and the President freeze their pay (for a change)?
    Thank you, Jim Collins, Alexandria, VA

    November 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  25. Mike from Denver

    Let's see, a government funded group tasked to find out where the government is wasting money? Their commission should have topped the list. Everyone knows where the problems are, but no one wants to get their hands dirty solving the problems.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  26. Sylvia from California

    We can only pray that it was not a pointless exercise because we are on our way to bankrupcy as a nation.... We have to stop spending and get back to living within our means before it is too late...

    November 29, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  27. Denny from Tacoma

    Of course it was a pointless exercise. It is merely a Republican ploy to cut the size of government which is nothing new on their agenda and does nothing to reduce the deficit.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  28. David in Raleigh, NC

    The deficit commission has done nothing other than openly oppose the political divide that already exists in America.

    Republicans want to cut taxes, reduce the size of government, reduce entitlement spending, and reduce the size of the National Debt.

    Democrats want to raise taxes, increase the size of government, increase entitlement spending, and increase the size of the National Debt.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  29. Greg in Mechanicsburg

    Exercise usually makes you stronger in the long run. Hopefully the futility of the commission will make our resolve to change the political system strong enough to pay it more than lip service every two years.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  30. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Yes it is. It looks good but that's what they believe will make people feel better and make us think they're going to do something when they really don't intend to change anything other than keep the tax cuts for the wealthy.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  31. David in Raleigh, NC

    The deficit commission was a way for Obama to raise taxes without being responsible for raising taxes when he can blame the tax increase on the deficit commission.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  32. steve in fl

    Of course it was, Jack. It's just another visit from the corporate tax cut fairy from I've read about it. Until we get the major economic players to participate in the economy in ways other than draining it, it will only get worse.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  33. Kathie

    If you really think that congress will stop their partison bickering, ignore their special intrests and their own agendas, listen to the report and actually represent the people (aka their employers) who elected them you must be living in an alternate universe.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  34. bob bush

    President Obama is freezing Federal Salaries, which is a good thing, however, is Congress freesing their salaries, or are they exempt from this countries financial problems? Congress exempts themselves from all the pain they inflict upon us. What can we do about this Congressional Exclusion. They get away with Murder! They should suffer like the rest of us, expecially the unemployed.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  35. John

    Jack, I have a few questions, sorry no answers.

    Why do we talk about soc.sec and medicare cuts, but never discuss cuts in welfare?
    Why are new gov't workers still receiving a pension when mainstreet has frozen them to older employees and no longer offer to new workers?
    Why don't fed. employees pay soc. sec.?
    Why aren't they discussing cutting the federal workforce?

    Thanks
    John

    November 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  36. Joe R - Houston

    Re-election requires scapegoats to excuse unpopular decisions. Therefore, the Deficit Commission is not pointless.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  37. r nichols

    Congress social security plan to not pay back money it took from the fund and to change it because of their over spending of money they don't have, is like bernie maloff ,enron,finacal bailout put together, and then say too bad is just wrong .IT is time to bail out those that they stole from and are counting on in their golden years, that they are promissed

    November 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  38. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well,
    The old saying is if you want to kill something give it to a commettee. This Deficit Commettee is an easy way to deflect to political fallout in case any of it is used.

    It is time for everyone that wants all the government benefits ro start paying for it. One way is to extend the Bush Tax Cuts for those making above 2 hundred thousand dollars and let the rates expire for all the lower brackets.

    That way Business can hire a few more workers and the Tax Base will expand. And cut spending.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  39. Al

    Misdirected more so than pointless. The key government issue is how to invest in our future and achieve value for ourselves and our progeny. Deficit reduction is budget cutting without consideration of value. Cutting is easy. Investing in our future is not.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  40. Mr. D

    It was a good idea, but pretty much pointed out the obvious. We already know what many of our fiscal problems are. But to do anything about it is another matter. When it comes to making spending cuts or increasing taxes, can't you just hear the angry chants now: "not in my backyard." Unfortunately, the commission members don't have much bite to go along with their warning growl. Stay away from my dish!

    November 29, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  41. chris

    it will be pointless and a waste of taxpayer money only if the senate, house and the president can get siome guts and start cutting spending and wasteful programs out there and cut salaries and benefits is a great start govt needs to cut starting now

    November 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  42. Ray in Knoxville

    Yes, Jack, it's pointless. The right and left both have their fixed ideas on what is waste and what should be cut. There is not going to be any consensus on this.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  43. barbara in NC

    The wealthy have it all and want even more.

    Why don't you start attending funerals for all that starve because the wealthy hoard their money instead of creating jobs (going on 10 years now – it has NOT and will NEVER trickle down).

    You republicans wanted it, you got it.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  44. JENNA IN CA

    Was the deficit commission a pointless exercise from the start?

    A BIG WASTE in time and tax dollars!

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    November 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  45. BILL, WI

    Already Rep Weiner and Pelosi have stated they will not co operate with Pres Obama if he seeks middle ground with the Repubs on deficit reform and debt reduction.

    November 29, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  46. Kim Smith

    The commission was as pointless as a screen door on a submarine. Typical Washington side show done for their own amusement and distraction.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  47. southerncousin

    It points out the stark reality of entitlement spending for political gain. Now who has the political guts to tackle the problem.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  48. ken, atlantic city nj

    The deficit commission is pointless because the politicians don't want to do what needs to be done. The U.S. has 70 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities and we continue to act as if there is no problem. Just for the record the U.S. had a 91% top personal income tax rate, a 52% corporate tax rate, and a 77% capital gains tax rate between 1917-1964. However in 2010 with 70 trillion in unfunded liabilities we have a 15% capital gains tax rate, a 32% corporate tax rate, and a top personal income tax rate of 35%. The debt commission is actually proposing to lower the top tax rate to 23%, and all their cuts only amount to 200 billion in savings over 10 years. Politicians are scared to death to cut corporate welfare, or increase corporate taxes, capital gains, or personal income taxes for the rich. We have hit the iceberg and we are going to sink. There is no longer any hope of ever eliminating our debt. You can moderate my comment but it is true.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  49. Jim

    Jack,

    No, but you can bet all the jockeying going on after its findings were released are a waste of time.

    Jim in Denver, CO

    November 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  50. Griff

    "Deficit?? Can mean all kinds of Deaf-ignorance. You will never con the world again CNN-USA. Cable News is world wide. and is not/does not belong the USA alone. You are so worried about China today? You wait until Europe fight back for what your insecurity caused to the world banking system by electing the idiot. He's your problem now jack!!! What are you going to do??? I know you still have to work to pay your bills, but they're yours!!!!"

    November 29, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  51. Carl

    Jack,
    Come on, really? This is another way for our corrupt government to re-direct funds into their own slimy bottomless pockets. We don't need another commission to tell us that our bottom feeding government screwed the legal American people over again. When Nobama froze the federal wage as of Jan. 2011, this just tells me that they will give themselves a huge raise before the freeze goes into effect.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  52. Steve

    Deficit commission is pointless because there will be no majority that will agree on anything. They are dreamers just like the dream act the Democrats are proposing to spend more on the non-Americans so that we American citizens have to pay out more for the foreigners. Obama's plan is cut Federal raises , which is a slap in a face but give more to illegal immigrants. Shouldn't it be the other way around. This government is way out of touch. We need logical lawmakers in Congress. Elect engineers to congress instead of lawyers.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  53. Steve

    No, now that we have a roadmap to get there, the American people need to demand our leaders follow it, every day and very loudly. if we don't, they won't.

    Vernon Hills, IL

    November 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  54. Ben from Boston

    Jack,

    All these experienced and wise folks on the commission could not come up with a plan they could all agree on or even most agree on. It tells me we need a simple starting point – like go back to the last budget of the Clinton presidency and those tax rates and push the reset button.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  55. Conor in Chicago

    Yes. All class war ends one way: Violence. This one is no different.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  56. Bizz Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I think it is a pointless exercise and only contributes to increase the deficit. Everyone knows in the end the working man along with Social Security and Medicare will take it on the chin. The rich will continue paying less in taxes and continued to get richer. Congress will continue voting themselves pay raises without having any cuts to their retirement or healthcare.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  57. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Not entirely. While the commission itself has no teeth and no power to do anything other than make politically incorrect suggestions to fix the budget, it does serve a purpose. It serves as a measuring stick to see how spineless our Congress is. These guys went in with a realist perspective and made suggestions which would meaningfully impact on our nations future economic condition. Now our flacid reps will take those suggestions, cherry-pick a few to give the illusion they are trying to listen and then go about business as usual. This commission's report will serve as a reminder, when our country is in financial chaos, how we lack true leadership from people with the intestinal fortitude to make tough stands for the good of the country.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  58. Joe CE

    The Commission came up with a lot of bad ideas. If followed they would create deflation, cut jobs, hurt the poor & elderly and insure a depression. It was worst than a waste of time.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  59. Conor in Chicago

    Actually it wasn't. Perhaps if you would turn your readers attention to Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who is a member of this panel, and touch on a few things she has said in her rather practical plan to reduce the deficit instead of insisting that the radicals in both parties are the norm you could be called a journalist instead of a pundit. Alas, pundit you are sir....

    November 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  60. Dennis north Carolina

    as long as the same people are in leadership, we will see no change.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  61. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    It is a total waste of time. It exists only so Obama can say he did "something."

    November 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  62. Valerie in Raleigh

    The deficit commission will make absolutely no progress as the Republicans are more interested in defeating anything and everything the Presidents attempts then getting the country back on track. The Party of "No" will remain the same as long as an Africian-American Democratic Presidents sits in the White House. Truly sad.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  63. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    No one was ever serious about this in the first place. It's no big mystery why the country is going bankrupt. We can't expect a commission is going to stumble upon a previously unknown hole in the dike spilling billions of dollars and say "plug your finger here" and all will be well. Our country has a serious spending problem. We are addicted to it and cannot change that without some pain. We have maxed out our credit card with the internatinal community and our solution now is to crank up the printing press and make some more monopoly money. We are lost because self-interested deadbeats take things off the table. You can't talk about reform without taking about entitlements. You can't talk about reform without talking about taxes, at least temporarily. Detoxing our country from its spending addiction will be painful. I don't see anyone in Congress or the Executive as part of the solution.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  64. HURRICANEPAUL

    Jack, we're $14 trillkioin dollars in debt. The ONLY solution is a 10% across-the-board wage reduction for EVERYONE who is on the receiving side of government spending.

    If your payckeck comes from the government in any shape or form, you MUST have your wages cut by 10% each and every year until the $14,000,000,000,000 DEBT is paid for.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  65. HURRICANEPAUL

    Jack, we're $14 trillion dollars in debt. The ONLY solution is a 10% across-the-board wage reduction for EVERYONE who is on the receiving side of government spending.

    If your payckeck comes from the government in any shape or form, you MUST have your wages cut by 10% each and every year until the $14,000,000,000,000 DEBT is paid for.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  66. Steve

    Not at all..It kinda lays everything out for view. It will allow the independent voters an opportunity to better understand what is at stake in all these elections. There are absolutely a number of buttons to push to deficit reduction and its going to be fascinating to see who is going to push them...(Other tha Palin/Hannity/Limbaugh)

    November 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  67. Minesh - Troy, MI

    Jack, the biggest benefit of the Deficit Commission is that there is a consensus- the politicians are charging our country's credit card beyond the limit and nobody will be there to loan us any more money.

    Republicans can use this point in the next session to start cutting government spending.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  68. Paul P.

    No, I don't believe so, its more than likely what will happen after the report is out that will be pointless. A report can be a good starting point if you are committed to acting on something. I am not sure Congress is.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  69. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    I think it was pointless, but it was the President's response to people demanding that he "do something".

    The only conclusion the commission could POSSIBLY come to that would make any sense would be that, to reduce the deficit, we have to (1) spend less, and (2) collect more.

    Since the ONLY income any government has is TAXES, that is not going to make the taxpayer happy. And it is not going to make those who get rich from government spending happy, either.

    And I suppose it would not make China and our other creditors happy, as they just love us borrowing money from them to run our country!

    We CAN reduce the deficit if we collect more taxes (and since the RICH have all the money they have to start putting up the lioon's share of the taxes) and pay down our debt, and if we take a hard look at our spending. We could start by getting our of the wars that are presently dragging us into bankruptcy.

    Will that happen? Not a chance!

    November 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  70. David Gerstenfeld

    Of course Jack. By the way, how in salary etc. will the "commission' add to the deficit ?
    David, Las Vegas

    November 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  71. andyz ynn, MA

    Was it a pointle3ss exercise from the start? I don't know. What did they accomplish? That should be your answer!

    November 29, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  72. John from San Antonio

    Yes! America cannot be destroyed from within if we are convinced to make some sacrifices to right the ship.

    November 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  73. Dick B

    I just saw the senator elect from Illinois this morning. On national tv he said he wanted tax cuts for the rich because the country would go into a double dip recession without them and in the next sentence said the unemployment benefits extensions had to be paid for with other social program cuts. If we keep electing these morons any commission or reasonable idea is pointless.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  74. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    It's pointless. We have commissioned, paneled, and committeed ourselves into spineless twits who can't make a persoanl decision. We'd rather come up with some lame "finding" as a faceless group.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  75. Steven P

    Of course it's pointless. Neither party have any real incentive to change the status quo – that is, the sharing of power between themselves – to really do what needs to be done. But what's new? They do what they want anyway and ignore the rest of us. They enact laws & regulations that they absolve themselves of, but the greasy thumb of "the fed" on the flywheel of the economy only slows our recovery down.

    Steve in New York

    November 29, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  76. Cheryl in Bluffton, SC

    At least the commission's findings have started a national conversation about realistic ways to cut the deficit. Will the politicians treat us like grownups and actually implement some of the good ideas put forward? One can only dream.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  77. Scott Stodden

    It Pretty Much Sounds Like It Jack Doesn't It I Mean When Nobody From Both Sides Of The Aisle Wants To Cooperate Then Its Pretty Much Useless!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    November 29, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  78. Brad Wall

    The proposal that already came out by the two co-chairs was exciting to me. My hope is that America will support that proposal and force the government to wrestle with these ideas that have seemed like political suicide. We need republicans who are willing to reduce defense spending and raise taxes and democrats who are willing to reduce entitlements. Plainview,TX

    November 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  79. Jeff In Minnesota

    How much longer can we put this off? At some point changes MUST be made to the system or the system will cease to function. We have had these sorts of commissions since at least the 1980s. While some things have been done to fix some problems, the bulk of the problems have always been pushed down the road to the next Congress. At some point we have to put a flag in the ground and say no more. I was really hoping that this would be that point, but apparently President Obama is no different than his predecessors. I had such hope that he would be the catalyst for some real change, but apparently that was too much to ask for.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  80. Pete from Georgia

    Deficit Commission ?? Talk about a joke !!
    That's like appointing a committee to search out and identify all drivers who exceed 55mph on our interstate highways.
    A total waste of time. Which is fast becoming the definition of our federal govt.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  81. Carl

    Jack,

    At times, I feel sorry for myself, because our lieing, cheating, stealing bottom feeding corrupt government, has turned me into a cynical 59 year old man. As I stated in my previous comment, this wage freeze means nothing at all. By the time it goes into effect, these scum bags will give themselves a nice giant raise, enough to last them for years. Everyone, take a good hard look at what our worhtless government has done to us in just the last 10 years. They are all, in my opinion, self serving corrupt idots, and that's the good things I have to say about these bottom feeders.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  82. Brad Wall

    Please show support for the proposal put out by the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform by joining the facebook group National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Supporters. Plainview, TX

    November 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  83. Ed

    I remember I chuckled when I first heard about the deficit commision they made to study the deficit. Somehow it reminded me of Abbot and Costello's who's on first routine. It never comes to a point, that's why it's funny.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  84. Jim in Alabama

    This is where the nation is going to quickly discover just what the Republians are all about Jack. They were never serious about cutting spending where it really needs to be cut such as in the bloated military, uneeded weapons programs, and waste. Instead, they will try to cut social programs that are more needed now as a result of their catastrophic economic policies. They'll try to cut social security, medicaid, medicare, educational programs, etc. instead. Republicans are a fraud and this nation is going to discover exactly WHO and WHAT they elected.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  85. dale Ia.

    Hear a lot of barking,,,but no bite in the politican,,.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  86. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Isn't everything is Washington these days a pointless exercise? Anyone expecting real work from Congress, please hold your breath.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  87. Linda in Arizona

    Aren't all "commissions" just "pointless exercises"? Name ONE commission that actually accomplished anything meaningful... I'm waiting.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  88. mickey

    It's the end of the world, Jack. Merry Armegeddon.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  89. Bryan Colorado

    Pointless? Actually worthless.
    See you in two years when we play musical chairs again.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  90. Gordon NJ

    I hope not. Since both sides are unhappy, this may well just be a good starting point. Taking the 18,000 page tax code and throwing it out the window can't be all bad. It's amazing how much they can cut the rates if they get rid of all the special interest tax breaks.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  91. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack,

    It is pointless unless the deficit commission corrects from the inside out. The first recommendation should have been for public financing of campaigns and term limits to eliminate corporate influence.

    The second should have been to trim their own perks. After 4 years in office, each representative receives 75% taxpayer-subsidized lifetime health care and currently receive between $1.3 and $2 million dollars for office expenses.
    It seems the only sacred cows are the politicians themselves.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  92. Randy

    No. This is what the so-called elites do. They always seem to have endless amounts of funds for "think tanks", "institutes", and "commissions" to tell us there are no funds for the general public and social programs.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  93. Paul, New Port Richey, Fl

    Of course the commission was set up to fail. Remember the bi-partisan meeting at Blair House. It was Kabuki theater meant to delay and let the socialist agenda grind on. We are not fooled anymore.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  94. Robby Bowling

    In this gutless never tell the truth country we now live in nobody will do anything til it's impending doom is upon us. There are no leaders left in this country.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  95. Jim, from Las Vegas

    Does a retired drill sergeant make a bad therapist?

    November 29, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  96. Ed's Kate

    I don't think so.. The two men in charge are trying I am sure to make it work but I doubt if it will. In the political atmosphere that we are in it is darn hard to get the two political parties to agree on anything. One party is trying its best to help the people and the other party is hell bent on making sure only the wealthy get help. Compromise is the only alternative but that is a word that very few in politics these days understand or will do.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  97. Luci

    The Democrats want to keep social security.
    The Republicans want to keep the tax cuts for the rich people, the top 2% of the people. If I was a billionaire/millionaire I would be happy to pay taxes and let the little guy have the lower taxes.
    We haven't seen the Party of No agree with anything put forth yet. Why would they start now? They brag about wanting to see the President fail. I still don't understand where these politicans were when Bush was pushing us into a depression.

    November 29, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  98. Ken in NC

    Just like Congress Jack. Pointless and clueless.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  99. Bob in Kansas City

    I think its too early to tell if its a waste of time......tell you what Jack, give me two years of unrestricted authority and I'll give you a balanced budget...albeit two thirds of the country will be mad as hell.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  100. KDS Irvine, CA

    Everything politicians do is pointless. All they care about is themselves and advancing their own careers.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  101. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Sure is Jack. It's called politics, not meant to help anyone other than the people that get these worthless jobs that cost us more money and do nothing. These people are gutless to do the hard things and are only trying to satisfy THEIR party. Divided we fall and fail.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  102. Spads

    Well the President is actually doing something about our domestic problems unlike the former president whom only created domestic problems, or at least never addressed them. Here we are at war in Afghanistan, nearly at nuclear war with China over North Korea, so the whole world could go up in a sudden flash Jack. Might as well live big while we can because there is no future. Please Jack….show me a future….you can’t. Oh yeah the youth mouse thing....lies.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  103. ma in arizona

    It is pointless fopr President Obama to keep asking the Republicans to do anything to help the country so stop wasting time and get to work, President Obama, and by that we mean stop trying to be nice. The Republicans don't like you, will never like you and have told you they want to see you fail. Are you going to hand them what they want on a silver platter while you keep apologizing at the same time. We voted you in so you could get done what the Republican sandbaggers would'nt do so what are you waiting for? The deficit panel is just a waste of time-a nice gesture, but a waste of time.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  104. Bell

    Well, Everything is pointless at this point! America is doomed beyond belief, where do we go from here? How long will it take for us to lock down our borders and stop being a 100% consumer nation and actually produce something?

    November 29, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  105. Bell, CA

    It was just something to do to stall for a solution.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  106. Bell, CA

    When will these politicians start acting their age and not their shoe size?

    November 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  107. Mark, OKC

    Jack, it's about as useful as a death commission. We could figure out a way to stop the grim reaper before congress could put an end to deficits.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  108. Will in Dekalb, IL

    Question: "Was the deficit commission a pointless exercise from the start?"

    Yes and No. By being pointless it served an important purpose: it showed how easily such a well-meaning effort could become pointless. And that's not pointless.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  109. Jack Toledo, Ohio

    Jack, The DRC is of course, political theatrics. We don't need no stinking deficit reduction. We have Giethner and plenty of paper and ink. Difficult decisions are political suicide.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  110. Jim Blevins

    But that is the whole point - show just how far apart the two sides are. It is much faster to have a small group of people who don't have to worry about re-election bring the ideas forward and have them shot down by one side or the other. It seems to me that we are about to define a whole new level of gridlock. The faster we can get each side to prove that there is no common ground, the better.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    November 29, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  111. Jon, Alexandria, VA

    Fourteen Deficit Commissioners walk into a bar... And write their report. Certainly explains the bad data in use, eh?

    November 29, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  112. Gigi Oregon

    I'm convinced the only way to take care of the deficit is to pay it down NOW. That means stopping the tax cuts for the rich and famous now' And add a 1% tax hike to all tax payers, to pay off the deficit. The President can do this on his own he doesn't need a worthless congress or senate
    1. Are Americans so crazy they don't understand taxes pay the bills run up by government.
    2. Cut not freeze the salaries on our government elected officials by 20% and if that doesn't work cut them again. They made this mess not we the people.
    3. Charity is needed at home stop overseas welfare until we clean up are own poverty. It makes us look foolish to feed the world and our own go hungry.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  113. Spads

    Well he didn't form a commission the media would crucify him for doing nothing. All the while G.W. Bush got away with it for eight years.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  114. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I don't know Jack, it certainly doesn't look like excercise is going to reduce this deficit, it's going to take some heavy lifting and I don't think a deficit committe is up to the job.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  115. Scott

    I am sure the commission had a meeting, then scheduled a meeting to discuss another meeting, then decided they should have another meeting.........these commissions are pointless, period. Another useless government entity.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  116. Hayden

    The deficit commission was a necessary exercise. We need to keep this topic at the top of the list. Our debt and deficit are as important as our national security and we have not addressed either since the Clinton administration. We were running deficits before the Great Recession. The recession just highlighted serious fiscal problems which have since been added to. This problem needs to stay in the forefront until it is actually addressed. I believe the fate of our nation is closely tied to our fiscal responsibility over the next few years.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  117. Hank Corbett

    No! It is not pointless. All these politicians who were elected to office on the slogan, "smaller government, less spending" need to suck it up and walk the walk. Also, the commission does not propose a tax increase, but a tax DECREASE with the elimination of popular deductions.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  118. Mike Simpson

    Jack,
    The answer is no!!! The commision sheds light on many of the programs that need to be cut. Also, it sounds a warning to the Tea Party. Taxes will need to be increased to reduce the deficit! Cutting taxes for the wealthy to grow the economy out of this mess will not work. The politicians and news media need to stop pandering to the public and clearly report to the people that the retirement age must be increased, Medicare programs need to be reduced and the most bitter pill: The middle class and wealthy people will need to pay higher taxes to reduce the deficit and preserve the USA!

    November 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  119. Scott, Massachusetts

    I will wait to view it on TLC.....Deficit Commission Alaska

    November 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  120. Spads

    Forfeit the government Bonds, (which is the debt), THAT will reduce the deficit!

    Yeeha, I have the answer!

    November 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  121. Mike Bailey

    Jack, of course this "commission" was a waste of time and money, just like the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission (VDBC) was under the Bush administration, they recommended an immediate 25% pay increase for all disabled veterans in 2007 and President Bush threw that report into a filing cabinet never to be seen again.

    Republicans want tax cuts and Democrats want tax increases and the two shall never meet, I guess we will have to become like Ireland or Iceland before Congress will finally DO something about our deficit, but at some point we do HAVE to pay our bills.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  122. david bidlack

    the deficit commission was not pointless just the results they came up with was wrong! the point they both missed is first we need to let the tax cuts end that will help in the short term with the deficit. the next thing is to build our economy faster than any other economy in the world even china's. the problem is we need to get out of our loosing and surrender attiude about our own economic future. we need leaders who will spend money and work hard to make this winning goal happen instead of surrendering to a bleak future attitude our current leaders seem to be infected with. if you think your going to loose the game trust me you will get your wish. the people who are leading this country are trying to except that our future revenue will be the same as it is now and you can bet china doesn't think that way about themselves or their future.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  123. Don in FL

    What is there to negotiate? If this is a time of sacrifice by all, as President Obama says, then the initial solution is simple. The Federal Government makes across the board cuts. Many agencies have grown bloated anyway. Americans cringe at the thought of tax increases because they do not believe it will be allocated appropriately.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  124. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    This National debt crisis comes to me as no 'shock', Jack. "Pay as you go" aka "consolidated revenue budget" are but a few aliases of the biggest Ponzi scheme ever – and it has been building for years.

    On top of that, we've put two wars on our credit card. The biggest laugh is that the Republicans were firmly in control when they had the opportunity to complain.

    Remember the hype they used to 'sell' those wars: "The oil revenues will pay for the Iraq invasion... for only tens of billions, we can pay for the war..."

    Aren't you glad we've been had?

    November 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  125. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    The 9/11 commission came up with many excellent recommendations. How many of those have been even put forth in legislation for debate?

    who said ... a lot of fury signifying nothing?

    November 29, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  126. JimGreen

    Jack….Pointless isn’t quite the right word—fruitless seems better—if it causes a re-set on the question we all should be asking: What kind of America do we want for ourselves? –it will not be pointless-but with the untra-conservative/ wealthy propaganda machine to make being anti-taxes a religion in America [because they don’t want to pay any] meaning results of the commission will likely be fruitless–

    November 29, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  127. Kevin in CA

    It wasn't pointless ... it served a useful political purpose for both parties.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  128. Annie, Atlanta

    Why is it that the middle and poorer classes have to lose their benefits, and yet turn around and bail out the corporations and wall street? You mean the catfood commission, don't you, Jack?

    November 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm |