Remember the debt ceiling debacle last summer?
You may recall that Congress never actually resolved the debate over the federal deficit; we just passed the buck to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—otherwise known as the twelve-man “supercommittee”—which was tasked with drafting a bipartisan plan for $1.5 trillion in budget cuts by November 23, 2011. If the supercommittee fails to come up with a proposal for said deficit reduction, $1.2 trillion in cuts will be triggered automatically, and the result won’t be pretty.
That is, of course, the whole point: by slashing both Medicare and Defense, the “trigger” is meant to be equally unappealing to Democrats and Republicans. Here, thanks to The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, is a helpful graphic showing just what that $1.2 trillion reduction would comprise: