By Mike Lillis - 11/16/11 06:47 PM EST
"We know how to put people to work in a recession," he said. "We should be borrowing money, essentially for free, in large amounts to rebuild this country and put people to work."
The remarks arrived just hours after dozens of lawmakers, from both parties and both chambers, gathered on Capitol Hill to pressure the 12-member deficit panel to reach well beyond its mandate to find $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next 10 years.
The lawmakers, including a number of liberal Democrats, argue that a grand bargain in the area of $4 trillion is necessary to shore up the nation's finances and retain the world's confidence in the U.S. economic and political systems.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said Wednesday that such a grand bargain also will ensure that the nation's entitlement programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, remain solvent for the benefit of future generations.
"I'm a progressive Democrat; I believe strongly in the importance of Medicare," Welch said. "Those of us who believe in Medicare have to take the lead in making sure it's sustainable.
"This 'go big, go bold' effort is the best way, where everything is on the table, that we can make the tough decisions that will mean that the folks who are counting on Medicare, folks who are counting on Medicaid, will have it," Welch said.
Borosage has a much different take, maintaining that the Democrats, in the name of "shared sacrifice," are offering much more in program cuts than the Republicans are willing to give up in tax and revenue increases.
"When the rewards of growth are not shared, shared sacrifice is for suckers," he said.
Created as part of the bipartisan debt-ceiling deal, the budget supercommittee is charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade or automatic cuts — split evenly between defense and civilian programs — would kick in. The panel has until Nov. 23 to reach an agreement.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, said Wednesday that the automatic cuts are analogous to failure on the part of Congress to get the country's fiscal house in order.
"Sequestration is not a worthwhile option," Hoyer said.
Yet many liberals, including Borosage, have argued that the automatic cuts are preferable to a grand bargain because a number of the party's favored programs — including Social Security, Medicaid, Pell grants and food stamps — can't be touched under sequestration.
"The cuts in other programs — public health, education, the environment, renewable energy, disease prevention, health research and more – would be brutal," Borosage wrote in Salon earlier this month.
"But the programs for the poor and vulnerable are likely to fare better in event of failure, than in event of a grand bargain," he said.
Borosage, no novice when it comes to hammering Democrats over the major issues of the day, has said that the supercommittee was stacked in favor of the Republicans all along.
The former adviser to Jesse Jackson's presidential bid was a vocal critic of the Democrats' healthcare reform bill, authored largely by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Rather than assign the centrist Baucus to the supercommittee, Borosage said, Democrats "should have … lock[ed] him in an attic somewhere."