Lawmakers' Actions Call Efficacy Of Deficit Commission Into Question

03/30/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As President Obama contemplates creating a deficit commission by executive order, it's worth bringing in this frozen moment from yesterday's ultimately unsuccessful Senate debate on creating its own commission. Via Matt Yglesias, this basically exemplifies how unserious this approach is:

According to Ezra Klein, before the Deficit Commission died in the Senate, a 97-0 vote backed an amendment from Max Baucus that would guarantee that the Commission couldn't touch Social Security. RNC Chairman Michael Steele has made "protecting Medicare" from cuts a core plank of the GOP.

Remember: the deficit commission was supposed to free lawmakers from the backlash of having to make tough choices about expenditures. But clearly, that's not enough insulation! And it makes you wonder who exactly Obama is going to put on his own commission. Some of the 97 senators who want no part of touching Social Security? Some of the Republicans who won't touch Medicare?

From the White House to the legislature, everyone seems to agree that the deficit has gotten so bad that an intervention is needed. But everyone involved is acting as everyone else's enabler. This effort is unserious, and will not lead to anything. And now, the president has joined this farce.

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