Here's the dilemma the debt-ceiling debacle created: Democrats on the Super Congress who want to figure out a way to squeeze out some economic recovery have to look for deeper deficit reduction in order to make that happen.
"All of us would like to set as a target for ourselves even more than $1.5 trillion," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who's also the top House Democrat on the Budget Committee, told reporters at a Tuesday Capitol press conference.
He and other Democrats point out that economic growth will reduce deficits simply by reducing unemployment rolls and increasing tax revenues. But when taken on their own, Democrats' favored jobs proposals (infrastructure spending, or temporary tax cuts) add to the deficit, and will thus make it harder, mathematically for Democrats to reach the Committee's goal of $1.5 trillion in budget savings.
Committee member Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) agrees with Van Hollen, and says he'd be willing to put key progressive programs on the table if it gives Congress more running room to shore up the economy now.
Problem is, the key progressive programs that end up on the chopping block are also the key programs that keep the people on the margins of the economy from falling off the edge. Sacrificing them to help in job creation just opens up a hole somewhere else in the safety net. The safety net that needs to be shredded, and the one Democrats should be focusing on, is the defense contractor safety net.