Why the Supercommittee Won't Lead

Leadership in Congress is on the wane, say Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. Budget negotiations remain weighed down by special interests while the public yearns for big action.

What's the Latest Development?

It looks like Congress is gearing up for another embarrassment as the supercommittee charged with righting America's budget wrongs remains unable to find common ground just a week before its November 23 deadline. What's worse, the whole debt-reduction exercise may become a farce. Various leaders, John McCain among them, have now publicly stated that the budget cuts and revenue increases designed to trigger automatically if the supercommittee fails "are not written on golden tablets".

What's the Big Idea?

Former White House Chief of Staff and former Wyoming Senator, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, predict that media pundits will soon ask: When will members of Congress put aside their personal priorities for the sake of the common good? But this is the wrong question, they say. "The real leadership question is, will they realize in time that their personal good and the common good aren’t actually in opposition?" Both the career politicians agree that Americans today yearn for big, bold leadership.

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