"I know it's crooked, but it's the only game in town." -- Three-card Monte Scam Artist Canada Bill Jones
COMMENTARY | Three-card Monte is a classic card game con in which a shill pretends to conspire with an unsuspecting player to cheat the dealer, while in fact conspiring with the dealer to cheat the player.
You can find this game on the streets of cities like Washington. But cautious observers should take notice that in our nation's capital, it also creeps into some elite circles.
In August, Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner reached a deal to solve the debt ceiling crisis: spending cuts only with no new revenues in the form of new taxes or even closing loopholes; immediate cuts of $1 trillion over the next decade. But the rest of the cutting will be done by a "Super Congress" made up of six Republicans and six Democrats.
We are being asked to believe that a committee of 12 will -- effectively -- run our country.
Does that sound like a done deal?
A Quinnipiac University Poll found 67 percent of responders think the 12-member panel will not be able to find agreement on a deficit-slashing plan. Only 24 percent said they think an agreement will be reached by the committee's Nov. 23 deadline.
McCarter adds: "This poll's one surprising finding, at odds with much of the polling we've seen , is that '48 percent said the deficit-reduction plan should only include spending cuts, while 39 percent said it should also include some tax revenue increases.' That's 74 percent of Republicans in the poll, while 58 percent of Democrats said that any proposal should include tax hikes. All the same, if the Catfood Commission II lives down to expectations and fails to come up with an agreement, 46 percent would blame Republicans, while 36 percent would blame President Obama and congressional Democrats."The public skepticism is easy to understand. But the general apathy with the goings-on around the Beltway is more indicative of the fact Super Congress is set up well to meet its own goals. Consider this plan as another form of Three-card Monte. In this version, responsibility for making arbitrary slashes to the social safety net is far removed from any voting by ordinary Americans. It's a con game: The consequences of these decisions are now essentially deflected from either party.
The Super Congress is a Super Deal for wealthy individuals connected to powerful lawmakers, allowing the lobbyists and special interests who run Washington to continue with business as usual.