Super Committee: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea?
Peace Action Field Director
The Congressional Super Committee of 12, established in the deficit/budget deal is charged with proposing over a trillion dollars in cuts to reduce the national debt before the end of 2011.
In a sense they are between the devil and the deep blue sea. Or are they? Is it a dilemma without a logical solution? We don’t think so.
The choice is clear. The Super Committee either cuts programs that help the oldest, the youngest and sickest in our society or the Pentagon, the only part of discretionary spending that continues to grow and consumes the biggest percentage of yearly spending.
In the last 10 years the Pentagon budget has nearly doubled while the State Department and foreign aid has been slashed. Not only are new weapons and wars draining scarce resources needed for jobs creation and community services, funding is also being slashed from efforts that support diplomacy when we need it most to end the war in Afghanistan.
The creation of a Super Committee to make decisions that will affect generations to come, without a way for the people to be heard, is unprecedented.
In the August 29-September 5, 2011 edition of The Nation, Ilyse Hogue wrote, “the debt deal’s final resolution of what essentially amounted to a hostage crisis by that minority represents a complete unmooring of official decision-making from the will of the American people.”
The Super Committee’s time line is short for when these decisions will be made and voted on. Between September and November 23, the Super Committee will negotiate a plan that will be sent to the Congress for an up or down vote by December 23.
Can we leverage the majority opinion, reflected in poll after poll, to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes, close corporate tax loop holes and end the wars to bring the tax dollars home? How do we build a grassroots roar for moving the money from wars and weapons back to our cities and towns?
We must organize, educate and mobilize for real cuts in Pentagon spending to protect community services.
Peace Action says cuts can be made, and it is important that our communities get the facts and bust the myths surrounding cutting Pentagon spending. Download our fact sheets and a deficit/budget deal myth buster to use in your organizing.
Targeting members of the Super Committee, members of subcommittees in both Houses who will weigh in on cuts in Pentagon spending, and the Congress as a whole is a big job, but the economic justice and peace movements have already begun.
Grassroots mobilizing for Congressional town hall meetings and public events in August and continuing into the Fall are creating a stir. People are raising their voices for “Jobs, not more weapon and wars!”
Peace Action is also on the move. We are organizing town hall meetings and bird-dogging the Super Committee members.
Last week we called on our supporters to use social media to send a message to the co-chairs. We Tweeted “Super Com co chairs @PattyMurray @RepHensarling. Start with cuts to Pentagon budget. Protect Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. “
Peace Action Montgomery County, MD, helped to initiate the MD Coalition: Fund Our Communities, Bring the War Dollars Home which is sponsoring a town hall meeting September 20 in Silver Spring to “Take back the Budget Debate.” The gathering will map out a plan for action including pressing Representative Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Super Committee.
North Carolina Peace Action is organizing in Durham a Town Hall Meeting to “Bring the War Dollars Home to Fund Our Communities” on Saturday, September 1. Their goal is to line up support from local elected officials who are faced with budget shortfalls, to press the North Carolina Congressional delegation to change Federal spending priorities.
Massachusetts Peace Action has begun to “bird dog” Senator Kerry, one of the members of the Super Committee, with a leaflet and petition making the links between Pentagon spending and meeting the needs of our communities.
When Cab Calloway recorded “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” in the 1930’s, and later Ella Fitzgerald and after that George Harrison, it was a song about a dilemma without a logical solution in matters of the heart. Let’s not let the Super Committee or Congress sing the same song in matters of the politics of the Federal budget!