There is a chance Congress will somehow try to alter these cuts, or even sidestep them. Some lawmakers were already saying they will immediately move legislation to block those automatic cuts to the defense budget.
But the nation's debt crisis will continue - with the deficit now at about $15 trillion. It also is likely no coincidence that the committee waited until the financial markets closed for the day to make the announcement. The Dow Jones industrial average had already tumbled by more than 300 points earlier in the day partly in anticipation of the acknowledgement of failure.
The lack of a super committee agreement also shifts concern to several important temporary tax breaks and other items set to expire at the end of December - matters that now likely must be addressed when Congress returns to Washington.
Among those are the AMT "patch" to prevent the alternative minimum tax, jobless benefits, and a payroll tax cut enacted last year that enables most Americans to keep an added 2 percent of their earnings. There also had been anticipation that a deal by the super committee would have included the so-called "doc-fix," the annual headache that Congress deals with to put off a planned cut in payments to Medicare doctors. If Congress doesn't act by January, doctors will be up for a 30 percent pay cut next year.