This is just an exercise for me… Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain….But I wanted to waste a morning going through main stream media events to see who was to blame for all our woes…

This (in no particular order) is what I discovered. As I begin, I’m awaiting like you to see what comes about…………… Here goes.

Even if negotiators are able to reach a compromise, some House Republicans signaled that any agreement with tax increases probably won’t pass the Republican-controlled chamber.

“I believe that we have opened a door to negotiations in these last final hours that if they (Republicans)
can come to an agreement on their side on revenue … we’ll be able to move forward,”

Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on how much tax hikes should contribute to deficit reduction, including whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And Democrats are reluctant to offer concessions on entitlements until the tax side is resolved.

The most promising formula for success remains the proposal by Sen. Patrick Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania, which broke new ground for Republicans by adopting tax hikes as part of the deficit reduction package. Until that point, the GOP line had been to keep tax cuts off the table.

A failure to pass any agreement would result in $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts starting in 2013, evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Congress this week that such cuts could cripple the American military establishment.

The latest apparent failure followed a day-long blame game Thursday, with each side blasting the other for being unreasonable. Republicans continue to say Democrats aren’t bending enough in terms of spending cuts; Democrats claim Republicans need to go further on tax hikes.

72 conservative House Republicans publicized their opposition to any agreement that would include tax increases. Such a large voting bloc within the GOP House majority means Boehner will need support from Democrats. Key Republicans broke with their party’s anti-tax orthodoxy this week with news of a proposal by Toomey that includes $400 billion in increased revenue, including tax hikes.

Representative Jim Jordan, head of the Republican Study Committee, which pushes for deeper spending cuts, said any deficit-cutting proposal that includes a tax increase is unlikely to clear a majority of the House’s Republicans.

“It would be difficult” to win passage of a supercommittee plan that includes more taxes, said Jordan, of Ohio, on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.

there’s a feeling among some congressional leaders that this time, failure to strike a deal is an option.

Democrats called it a “halfway” proposal and said it was unbalanced because it included just $3 billion in tax revenue. (deficit is $14 trillion)

A number of Republicans acknowledge that alternatives to action by the supercommittee look highly attractive, if risky. The chance of all three contests going the Republicans’ way is less than 50-50, but if they do, the payoff would be huge. The risk is outweighed by the benefits of winning. What’s at stake? The power to further tilt the tax code in favor of the affluent and to perform progressively more radical surgery on the welfare state.

A central Democratic player in the supercommittee negotiations noted that “there is a lot of fear” that the failure of the supercommittee “is intentional, that the Republicans are waiting until January, 2013, after an election has taken place. Who is in control will have enormous consequence.”

Simply taking no action whatsoever before this year’s November 23 and December 23 deadlines will force the expiration of the Bush tax cuts at the end of 2012. The expiration of these cuts will produce an estimated $3.8 trillion in new revenue between 2013 and 2022 –

Notions of unilateral victory, through Republican domination of Washington become increasingly attractive, no matter how fanciful, if the alternative is engaging in the processes of honest bargaining, accommodation, negotiation and compromise.

The Pentagon is already facing $450 billion in cuts over the next ten years. If these automatic cuts take place that would mean a 23 percent cut in the budget – in the first year alone!

The National Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – headed by Bowles and Simpson – came up with a plan to cut four trillion dollars. That never went anywhere. The Debt Reduction Task Force – with Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin – wanted to cut six trillion dollars! That plan was dead on arrival. And the Gang of Six – the bi-partisan senators – had a three and a half trillion dollar plan that never happened. The national debt is now above $15 trillion.

Here are five questions to determine the substance behind the headlines, and whether the panel really met its debt-reduction target.

1. How much deficit reduction over 10 years did the supercommittee recommend?

a) More than $3 trillion (30 points)

b) $1.6 to $3 trillion (22 points)

c) $1.2 to $1.5 trillion (15 points)

d) Less than $1.2 trillion (0 points)

2. How much presidential and congressional leadership support did the supercommittee have for its recommendations?

a) All four top congressional leaders and the president (30)

b) Three of the top congressional leaders and the president (20)

c) Two of the top congressional leaders and the president (10)

d) None of the above (0)

3. How meaningful were the proposed reforms?

a) Recommendations include major and comprehensive changes to social insurance programs (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) and tax reforms (15)

b) Recommendations include some modest changes to social insurance programs and tax-code reforms (10)

c) Recommendations include instructions for a process that will result in future reforms to social insurance programs and the tax code (5)

d) No recommendations were made, or recommendations did not address social insurance or tax reforms (0)

4. What basis did the supercommittee use to score its 10-year deficit reduction recommendations?

a) Current law after the
August bill raising the debt
ceiling (which assumes
expiration of the Bush/Obama tax cuts, significant reductions in payments to physicians
who accept Medicare, and
cuts in discretionary spending) (15)

b) Current law preceding the debt-ceiling bill (assumes all of “a” except no reductions in discretionary spending) (10)

c) Current policy (assumes extension of Bush/Obama tax cuts, no significant reductions in payment to physicians, and a pullback of troops in South Asia and the Middle East (5)

d) President Obama’s proposed benchmark (Same as “c” except without a reduction of troops in South Asia and the Middle East (0)

5. Did the supercommittee recommend extending its life — or creating a similarly empowered committee — to better educate the public while pushing for greater deficit reduction over time?

a) Yes, with a specific and
higher deficit-reduction goal
and public education effort (10)

b) Yes, without a specific and higher deficit-reduction goal
but with a public education/
engagement effort (7)

c) Yes, with a higher deficit-reduction goal but no public
education/engagement
effort (5)

d) No (0)

Scoring the answers

86 to 100: Excellent! We’ve started down the road toward fiscal security by making some tough choices.

70 to 85: Good. We did some necessary things, but this has to be just the opening salvo.

5 0 to 69: Poor. We plucked only the lowest-hanging fruit.

Less than 50: Fail. Why be in Congress if you’re just going to shirk your responsibility?

You be the judge……………