Politico has a postmortem on the debt-reduction supercommittee that reveals the “wish lists” the two sides exchanged in October:
House Republicans wanted to repeal Obama’s health care law, implement the controversial House GOP budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), save $700 billion by block granting Medicaid, cut $400 billion in mandatory spending, slash another $1.4 trillion in other health care mandatory spending, save $150 billion by slicing the federal workforce and put a $60 billion cap on tort reform.
Republicans were no more pleased to see what Democrats wanted: the president’s $447 billion jobs bill plus well over $1 trillion in new taxes.
So Republicans wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, block-grant Medicaid, privatize and voucherize Medicare — in addition to passing everything else in Paul Ryan’s budget. And though it’s not mentioned on this list, Republicans also worked to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, which is to say, they also wanted to pass $3.8 trillion in tax cuts.
Democrats wanted tax increases to make up about a third of the deficit deal — remember we already passed $900 billion in spending cuts back in August. They also wanted passage of a jobs plan that mostly consists of a payroll tax cut, infrastructure investment and expanded unemployment benefits.
Political scientists have a term for when one party is more extreme than the other: “asymmetrical polarization.” This is what it looks like.