If my twitter feed is any indication, everyone is still focused on the Joint Select (Super) Committee, which is still unlikely to do anything, which will in turn trigger something that won’t happen for another year, except by then it won’t happen.

Meanwhile, as far as I can tell the real budget news continues to be the likely shutdown showdown over FY 2012 appropriations, coming later this month. Brian Beutler did have some good reporting today on some of the issues involved — it’s mostly about policy riders that the House is attaching to appropriations bills.

I’m entirely baffled by the whole thing; it just seems to me that the press has this entirely backwards. Is it that everyone has cried wolf over a government shutdown too many times this year? Is it the ever-present liberal panic that if they look away for a minute that Democratic politicians will immediately shut down Social Security and Medicare, as many liberals are certain that they’re eager to do? I have no idea. As far as I can tell, the JSC just isn’t a very big deal, while the other track — FY2012 appropriations — is a real and serious battle. That’s what I’ve been saying, and I think Stan Collender has been mostly saying the same thing, but everyone else seems to be fixated on the wrong thing. Anyone have a good explanation?

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

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Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.