October 20, 2011

Manchin Should Form Coalition | The Wheeling Intelligencer

There probably is not enough time - or willpower among members of Congress - for anything constructive to be done about the suggestion Sen. Joe Manchin made Tuesday. Still, Manchin, D-W.Va., is right.

Manchin released recommendations concerning reductions in deficit spending. Some of them came from West Virginians responding to his request for ideas on how to tackle out-of-control budgets.

As Manchin pointed out, Congress and President Barack Obama are merely nipping at the edges of the problem.

A special joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives is working on recommendations to shave $1.5 trillion in spending during the next decade. It is to issue a report around Thanksgiving. If Congress does not enact cuts proposed by the committee, automatic spending reductions will kick in.

One way or the other, comparatively little will have been accomplished. Spending cuts the panel is charged with finding would amount to only $150 billion a year. That is less than 4 percent of the federal budget.

"Let's go big," Manchin urged the so-called "Super Committee." By "big," he means $4 trillion in cuts during a 10-year period.

He's right. But it will be remembered that earlier this year, deficit-reduction plans of roughly the amount proposed by Manchin were discussed - and dismissed virtually out of hand by Obama and liberal lawmakers.

So, especially given the time restraints faced by the committee, it is unlikely anything approaching the Manchin proposal will be discussed.

But if Manchin can build a coalition of conservative Democrats and Republicans to tackle the $4 trillion target, there's always next year. Manchin should begin forming just such an alliance.

By:  Editorial