So far, this hasn't happened. It's unclear if the lawmakers have made any progress. Details on their work—where reductions could be made, agencies or programs that would be affected, a blueprint for long-term deficit reduction—have been non-existent.
At the same time, frustration with the inaction of the committee and Congress in general is growing. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, only 33 percent of Americans believe their representatives should be re-elected, while only 6 percent believe other members of Congress should keep their jobs.
This dissent has spilled into the streets. Activists continue to occupy cities throughout the United States. The Tea Party, which helped propel Republicans into office in 2010, has abandoned many of the candidates it championed.
A whiff of compromise is in the air, but whether this spirit of compromise will compel the debt committee is a different matter. It is tasked with compromise at a time when American politicians are polarized and concession is viewed as defeat. And no one is ready to admit a political loss, even if this loss ultimately hurts the American people.