Supercommittee Superthoughts

I don’t recall anything that’s been so thoroughly misreported as the demise of the Joint Select Committee, which of course (1) was widely anticipated by everyone who follows budget politics, and (2) doesn’t add a single nickel to the deficit.

For a much-needed corrective, head over to Jonathan Chait, who explains what the actual goal of the super committee was, and why it was entirely successful:

The whole plan was to start talking about something other than the debt ceiling, in hopes that the tea party would find some different shiny object to pick up and try to smash with a rock. And it worked!

Click through for the full, smart, explanation. You’ll want to also check out Andrew Sprung’s reaction.

As to the future, I’ve been agreeing with those who note how nothing that happens now can bind future Congresses, and that it’s likely that the sequester won’t happen the way it’s written into law…but I also wrote something over the weekend arguing that undoing the trigger on defense cuts isn’t going to be the slam-dunk some seem to think it will be.

Also, Ezra Klein had some very good points this morning about the immediate Congressional agenda in the wake of the JSC demise.

But the people who are running around talking about supercommittee failure — the NYT right now has “hopes were dashed” as their headline — should really stop and ask themselves if they perhaps have this story entirely wrong. Since, after all, they do.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein

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