Can the bipartisan deficit supercommittee find even more savings to fund Obama’s jobs plan?

Diverging_ArrowsJust one week into its mandate to lop $1.5 trillion off federal spending over the next 10 years, Congress’s Joint Deficit Reduction Committee is already facing calls to do dramatically more.

This mission creep began with President Obama’s request last week for the panel to find offsets for his $450 billion jobs initiative – setting a new bar at nearly $2 trillion in net savings.

Big cuts are not necessarily incompatible with job creation, says Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, so long as the overall package is large enough to include targeted spending on jobs. “The plan has to be smart, spread over a decade, with other pieces for growth that will actually create jobs,” MacGuineas says.

But the 12-member panel begins its work deeply divided on basic assumptions on what caused the nation’s unsustainable deficits and how to curb them. Republicans see the issue mainly or solely as too much government spending. Democrats tend to see the problem as not enough government revenue, plus Bush-era policies – including historic tax cuts and two wars – paid for on credit.

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Source: Gail Russell Chaddock | The Christian Science Monitor