UPDATE: We originally ran this yesterday, but in light of the news that the Super-Committee is destined for failure, we wanted to run it again now.
ORIGINAL POST: There are only two reasons anyone should care about the Super-Committee, the bi-partisan group of 12 Congressmen who are tasked with finding away to cut another $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years.
As many have said, this isn’t even that big of a number, and it’s hard to know what will actually be maintained by future Congresses. The whole things is a bit of a joke.
So there are really only two reasons to care.
The first is that if it fails, there’s some non-zeo chance that we’ll get another ratings downgrade. Now the first ratings downgrade didn’t cause our borrowing costs to spike as many had predicted, but it did seem to cause a confidence shock and a blow to equity markets.
From Nomura’s George Goncalves, here’s a look at odds of various scenarios, and the attendant potential for another downgrade.
For what it’s worth, the fact that he sees a 50% chance of $1.2 trillion in cuts would strike many as high.
The other reason to care about the Super-Committee is that this is the best vehicle, apparently, to ensure a continuation of the payroll tax cut, which went into place last year. It hasn’t been an amazing boon to the economy, but a reversion back to normal rates would certainly be an unwelcome drag on GDP.
That’s the extent of the importance of the Super-Committee. Any notions of changing the direction of debt sustainability or whatnot are pretty silly.