Grover Norquist, a leading anti-tax activist, predicts that the new "super committee" of Congress designed to find a deficit-reduction compromise this fall will fail. He says automatic spending cuts will follow, as required by the legislation enacted to avoid a government default a few weeks ago. And that's not a bad outcome as far as Norquist is concerned. [See editorial cartoons about the economy.]
In fact, Norquist says, "It will be a great way to end the year." He added: "Raising taxes doesn't solve our spending problem."
Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, is perhaps best known for promoting a famous no-tax-increase pledge that he has persuaded many Republicans in Congress and in other offices to sign. He has emerged as one of the most powerful and savvy conservatives in Washington.
Norquist says there will be a continuing stalemate over the budget this year, and he predicts that the 2012 election will resolve it in favor of the conservative approach of cutting spending and not raising taxes. [Read the U.S. News debate: Is Citizens United hurting democracy?]
In the meantime, he says, the Democrats will remain adamant in favor of raising some taxes and the Republicans will remain adamant in favor of cutting spending—a recipe for a lack of compromise.
Norquist's comments about continued stalemate are echoed by many others of both parties. There is widespread skepticism among Washington insiders that the "super committee" can break the logjam. [Subscribe to U.S. News Weekly, now available as an iPad app.]
But there is actually more flexibility built into the current arrangement than may be generally realized. Automatic cuts that would be triggered by the failure of Congress to enact a deficit-reduction compromise this fall wouldn't take effect until January 2013. That would leave more than a year to continue the debate.