TIMOTHY NOAH NOVEMBER 22, 2011
Wise Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution advises not to fret about the super committee's demise, and warns that half or more of any future deficit reduction deal must consist of taxes. Why? Because in the absence of a tax increase that big
"the spending cuts required to stabilize the ratio of debt to national income will eventually be so large that it will be impossible to sustain Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the premium subsidies of the Affordable Care Act. In the debate on raising the debt ceiling, Democrats agreed to a deficit-reduction program consisting exclusively of spending cuts. If that approach becomes entrenched, preserving major social insurance and social welfare legislation of the 20th century will become mathematically impossible."
Super committee Republicans never came close to offering a deal that wouldn't require wholesale dismantlement of the welfare state.