Balancing The Budget: Catfood ForThe Poor, Tax Cuts For The Rich

President Obama on his Catfood Commission:

"Before anybody starts shooting down proposals, I think we need to listen, we need to gather up all the facts[. . .] If people are, in fact, concerned about spending, debt, deficits and the future of our country, then they're going to need to be armed with the information about the kinds of choices that are going to be involved, and we can't just engage in political rhetoric.

President Obama's advisor David Axelrod on tax cuts for the rich:

Although the president "took the position he felt was the right position" -- favoring a continuation of the cuts only for families earning up to $250,000 -- Axelrod portrayed this "optimal" stance as unrealistic in the lame-duck Congress that begins next week.

The GOP will insist on permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthy and Obama will capitulate. This may be why:

A student of history and a onetime political reporter, Axelrod expressed curiosity and even some optimism about the tea party, suggesting that Obama could work with them [. . .]

If so, Obama would turn the Clinton-era triangulation strategy on its head, reaching out not to the moderates in the other party but to the new breed of conservatives who could bring the ideological arc of Congress full circle.

Can the White House work with them? "It is a fascinating time in our history," he said, "and I don't think anybody really knows. I mean I have watched carefully some of these folks on television. I don't think this is nearly as predictable as people think."

(Emphasis supplied.) This is, of course, insane. The Obama White House seems to have lost its mind. At this rate, unless the GOP nominates Palin, Obama may very well be a one term President. Shocking really.

Speaking for me only

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    Not shocking. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:33:38 AM EST
    Typical Obama incompetence.

    No, not incompetence (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by lambert on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:42:58 PM EST
    Obama's a conservative.

    That's why he enacts conservative policies.

    There is no compromise or capitulation involved; he believes in conservative values and policies, and so he supports them.


    He's still an incompetent. (none / 0) (#71)
    by masslib on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 06:32:36 AM EST
    His conservatism may have blinded him from enacting a proper stimulus, but I think that doing so required a large measure of incompetence.

    More quotes on Cat Food Commission (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:49:13 AM EST

    Obama, in Seoul, South Korea, declined to discuss the specifics of the chairmen's work but said Thursday, "We're going to have to take actions that are difficult and we're going to have to tell the truth the American people." He said there has been a lot of rhetoric about the nation's debt and annual budget deficits but "a lot of the talk didn't match up with reality."


    Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the White House commission, said the nation faces the real possibility of becoming a "second-tier economic power" if it fails to address the trillion-dollar-plus deficit. He said simply cutting waste and fraud will not solve the problem, and insisted changes to Medicare and Social Security were needed because both programs are headed toward insolvency.

    "People can say we want to keep what is. What is is not affordable," Conrad said Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America." Source: AP

    What will be DOA will be Democratic candidates at the polls if they continue to give tax cuts to the rich and cut Social Security and Medicare. In fact, those actions could have election consequences for decades to come. BTW Conrad, FU you have promoted keeping the tax cuts for the rich. I guess they are affordable.  

    This was the reply I left in the (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:44:02 AM EST
    previous thread:

    Seems to me they ought to first start with the truth - that Social Security is not part of the budget and is not a factor in the deficit - and then see how the people react to being told that instead of subjecting wages over the current ceiling ($106,800) to some portion of the tax that wages below that ceiling are subject to, the solutions being offered are to (1) reduce benefits by raising the retirement age even higher than the current age most people in labor-intensive jobs have to be in order to get full benefits, (2) index the benefits which is another way of reducing them, (3) make it a means-tested program that will make receiving benefits feel like one is receiving welfare.
    But apart from that little truth problem, there's an even bigger problem: the American people have already sacrificed plenty, thanks very much, so it seems to me these kinds of concern-trolling lectures from Obama and Conrad and their ilk would best be delivered to the banks and to Wall Street and the health insurance industry, which have unabashedly screwed us again and again and again, and each time were rewarded for their actions with more and more and more of our money.

    Too bad, too, that the media're all on board the freight train: Brian Williams opened last night's NBC News by saying something to the effect that when America voted on the 2nd, it was telling Washington to stop spending money -and now this report was out (no mention that it was a draft, of course), and now all that remained was figuring out the details.

    What comes after "livid?"  Actual head explosion?

    And adding, after reading more of what's being said in this thread, I am getting the same feeling I got when the Bush administration was marching us to war in Iraq: that they had already decided what they were going to do, and it was only a matter of making sure all the actors were reading from the same script - including the media.  For their efforts, they were rewarded with another term.

    I don't know how many times people can listen to Obama - and to all those who purport to speak for him - and still think they can discern any glimmer of whatever was left of a Democratic agenda.  While we - the Dinosaur Democrats - still hold to that agenda and the platform and principles that underpin it, as long as those with the power, who represent us in all areas of government, do not, we are completely and utterly irrelevant.  Vote, don't vote - how does it even matter anymore at this level?



    I completly agree (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:35:37 AM EST
    if he does this all we said about how unlikely a primary challenge from the left is goes right out the window.

    Who's gonna do it? (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:04:25 AM EST
    There is no one in the party of sufficient national stature that stands significantly to the left of the President.

    then IMO (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:05:56 AM EST
    someone of insufficient national stature will do it.

    i.e., some weird fringe figure (none / 0) (#28)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:12:57 AM EST
    ... like Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel who would attract almost no votes.

    perhaps (none / 0) (#31)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:15:18 AM EST
    or someone like Bayh or Feingold perhaps.

    Bayh!? I thought you were talking about (none / 0) (#35)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:19:23 AM EST
    ... a challenge from the left. Feingold would be an attractive figure, but he's got to know the scale of the media war that would be unleashed on him to secure Obama's renomination.

    and you were talking about (none / 0) (#38)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:21:33 AM EST
    national stature.  just pointing out that there is unemployed stature out there.

    and then the Dems can nominate someone else to run against him.

    and even an unsuccessful (none / 0) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:18:38 AM EST
    primary challenge could be fatal to an already weakened candidate.

    You should (none / 0) (#53)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:28:41 PM EST
    read Larry Sabato's analysis. It is deadly for Obama right now.

    The best thing the party could do is not renominate him and have an open primary where we discuss concrete solutions to the problems facing the country.


    Perhaps he could learn... (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by sj on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:52:45 PM EST
    at least this from LBJ:

    "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president"

    Reading that article, I most loved Congressman Mo Udall's Shermanesque statement:

    "If nominated, I shall run to Mexico. If elected, I shall fight extradition."

    I prefer to at least (none / 0) (#54)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:30:48 PM EST
    make an effort to live in the real world

    Time to change (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:52:56 PM EST
    the real world. It's not working for millions of people.

    Heck (none / 0) (#55)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:35:17 PM EST
    what is the real world? We have Obamaland and then we have GOP land. Both of them seem to based on some supply side fantasy of solving our economic programs.

    Obama's reelect number right now is 39% but I mostly think that we aren't going to have an open primary unless the big money donors pull the money out from Obama which is not impossible.


    So? n/t (none / 0) (#58)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:52:11 PM EST
    I dont disagree that it is not working (none / 0) (#66)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:16:06 PM EST
    but there is less than zero chance of that scenario occurring.

    I an not suggesting they will win (none / 0) (#24)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:07:43 AM EST
    although I think that is not impossible.  but if this continues until 2012 people will be screaming for a primary challenge.

    then there is the much more substantive threat of a third party.


    A 'third party' candidate will run (none / 0) (#30)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:14:11 AM EST
    on how extreme both parties have become and in effect replicate what Obama is already doing.

    all they have to do (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:17:36 AM EST
    is run on old fashioned populist ideas like supporting the middle class defending SS and the safety net.

    seems like a pretty damn big niche to fill to me.


    Yes - i don't see a third party candidate (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by ruffian on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:53:40 AM EST
    wasting time by being in the middle of the moderates.

    Still DOA? (none / 0) (#3)
    by observed on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:40:03 AM EST

    Yes (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:43:56 AM EST
    Absolutely DOA. Not one pol will embrace cutting Social Security and eliminating the mortgage deduction.

    Not gonna happen.


    You know that the chairman's (none / 0) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:56:09 AM EST
    report is not the final report that will be voted on. The final report does not need to include eliminating the mortgage deduction or many of the other recommendations. It could simply include cuts to Social Security and Medicare which will be sold as saving the programs because everyone knows they are "headed toward insolvency."

    Do I think that would be a stupid political decision for Dem politicians to make? Yes definitely. But they have been doing stupid real well for the last several years.


    I do not think it is DOA. (5.00 / 5) (#29)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:13:37 AM EST
    The fix is in.  They've found common ground and agreed that if there is not other party for the seniors to run to, then they're all covered.  

    Besides, Obama hasn't shown one iota of loyalty towards the Democratic Party during his tenure.  He doesn't care.


    Bingo, already done in the backroom (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:17:39 AM EST
    ages ago.

    I agree that it is not DOA (none / 0) (#40)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:31:39 AM EST
    IMO it is just a matter of how bad or how destructive will they make it for people who are not wealthy.

    What p!sses me off even further is that they will be stealing money from people who really need it to finance tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations and to finance their never ending wars.


    "optimism about the tea" (none / 0) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:42:28 AM EST
    what else do we need to know.  really.

    President Axelrod (none / 0) (#5)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:43:22 AM EST
    isn't going to give up his OWN tax-cut-for-the-wealthy.  He doesn't care if it means his "boss" is a 1-term president.

    And BTW, who IS the boss here?  Obviously not Obama.

    Wha? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:48:02 AM EST
    You think Axelrod speaks for himself?  He speaks for the boss.

    Who would that boss be then? (none / 0) (#16)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:56:13 AM EST
    Axelrod is a handler, not a minion.

    I don't understand, are you suggesting if not (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:00:08 AM EST
    for Axelrod Obama would not be caving on extending tax cuts to the rich?  I don't buy that.

    Exactly, IMO (none / 0) (#7)
    by observed on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:45:21 AM EST
    Obama is a puppet,much like Reagan, and like W. was supposed to be.

    But neither Reagan nor W (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:55:12 AM EST
    gave up the store to the opposite party before even hitting the bargaining table.

    That's the difference.  Their policies weren't better, but their puppet string holders were better at representing their parties.  That's why they were re-elected.

    Under President Axelrod there is no material difference between the parties. Thus, Obama will definitely be a one-termer.  It's no shock. In fact, it was PAINFULLY obvious before he was even elected.  It's never a good thing to elect a member of a party who obviously demonstrates he doesn't really want to be a member of that party.  And Obama demonstrated from the start that he really favored Republican ideals.  It's just that in 2008 ALL of his supporters thought the Bipartisan Schtick was 11-dimensional chess.


    Dems are Obama's (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by observed on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:57:44 AM EST
    opposite party,and always were.

    Supposed to be? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Thanin on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:48:18 AM EST
    Don't believe this latest spin on w.  Its all BS.

    W. was dangerously unstable, (none / 0) (#17)
    by observed on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:56:34 AM EST

    sounds like you should (none / 0) (#36)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:20:33 AM EST
    4 out of 12 right. (none / 0) (#41)
    by Thanin on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:32:33 AM EST
    punked (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:36:41 AM EST
    I got 7 out of 12

    Why don't you pass the time ... (none / 0) (#69)
    by lambert on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:45:48 PM EST
    time by playing a little solitaire? Haw.

    IMO Obama is just doing what he was sent (none / 0) (#44)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:37:08 AM EST
    to D.C. to do. The seed money for his presidential run did not come from $5 donations from poor folks.

    I am beginning to agree (none / 0) (#45)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:39:13 AM EST
    that this does not appear to be about naivety  or weakness but exactly what he wants to do.

    I think he's weak, naive AND conservative (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Dadler on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 11:11:09 AM EST
    Nothing is exclusive. I do think, however, that Obama is a man with a very tormented psyche, which all goes back to childhood. It's Freud, the bastard. ;-)

    Obama's weakness is that he is (5.00 / 4) (#51)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 11:41:04 AM EST
    driven to convince himself that he is worthy of those who would reject him, and fears that failure to accommodate their demands will further alienate them from seeing his essential worth.

    The Republicans are the father who didn't love him enough to stick around, and the mother who kicked him to the curb to accommodate her own needs.

    Okay, so why then, is he not trying to accommodate us?  Because he believes we are the grandparents who loved him unconditionally, and he believes we will still be there when it counts.

    But that will never be enough for him; he will always seek the approval of those who do not deem him worthy, no matter what the cost to others.

    This is psychodrama, people, being played out on a national stage, and it isn't going to stop.  He has enablers all over the place, who are using him for their own purposes, whether that is proximity to power, advancing a particular agenda or just the thrill of pulling the strings and manipulating him at will.

    Given what we have seen from prior presidents, I wonder sometimes if we will ever have an Oval Office resident doesn't make us all participate in his or her own psychodramas...


    Oooh. Very good (none / 0) (#70)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 03:07:24 PM EST
    Well said.  I think you've hit the nail on the head.

    How come we've had four presidents in a row with father issues?


    Insane is the word (none / 0) (#8)
    by ruffian on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:46:32 AM EST
    Hey, but at least they are giving up on reaching out to so called Republican moderates!

    Remember, Obama is tireless in finding ways to compromise.

    discussing the cat food commission (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:49:36 AM EST
    with my coffee barista this morning (which has become my favorite stop of the day) he related to me the allegory of the hunter and the bear. I will clean it up as best as I can:

    a hunter is stalking the woods and he feels a tap on his shoulder. he turns and a 700 pound bear slaps the gun out of his hands and says, "ok, you have two choices. I can eat you or I can f*ck you".

    the hunter considers this and says "well, I guess you better f*ck me". and he does.

    the hunter limps back to his car and as he is driving home he becomes more and more angry so instead of going home he goes to the gun store and gets a bigger gun and heads back to the woods. creeping through the woods Elmer Fudd style he again feels a tap on his shoulder and turns. again the bear slaps the gun from his hands and says "you know the drill."

    again the man limps to his car and this time races to the gun store for an even bigger gun.
    this time he barely gets out of his car when he hears something behind him and wheels around and WHAP. the gun goes flying from his hands and the bear says, "you are not really in this for the hunting are you?"


    HA! (none / 0) (#39)
    by lilburro on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:27:25 AM EST
    That's awesome.  Reminds me of the Brassens' song Le Gorille (Jake Thackray english version lyrics here).  Guess I should start putting together a compilation.

    Good-bye president Snowe, Hello President Paul! (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:47:47 AM EST
    Primary (none / 0) (#19)
    by gaf on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:58:20 AM EST
    (Emphasis supplied.) This is, of course, insane. The Obama White House seems to have lost its mind. At this rate, unless the GOP nominates Palin, Obama may very well be a one term President. Shocking really.



    Much as I would want it to be, I don't think it will happen. BTD, What do you think? Is there a chance in hell Obama will be primaried?

    Not by anyone who ... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:11:06 AM EST
    has a chance of wresting the nomination from him. Whom can you even imagine in that role? Certainly not Hillary Clinton. Dennis Kucinich? Howard Dean? He's the only one with the requisite stature, but I can't imagine he'd have the stomach for the relentless defamation that would be unleashed on him from all quarters.

    Won't (none / 0) (#50)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 11:25:05 AM EST
    matter. People will vote with their feet. Obama can count on becoming a one-termer, the return of Carter and the party can start rebuilding.

    Meanwhile the plundering (none / 0) (#57)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:43:58 PM EST
    of America's wealth and honor accelerates. I shudder to think what another four years of Republican rule can realize in that direction. Yet it seems an all too likely outcome.

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:03:24 PM EST
    that is the route the party chose in 2008 but there's nothing we can except look forward at this point.

    Look at it this way: if Romney wins the nomination which is what all the beltway GOPers seem to want, he's easy to roll. He'll be the R version of Obama.


    Talk about diminished expectations! (none / 0) (#65)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:13:22 PM EST
    When I can look forward to a Romney Presidency as a good thing?! But I think you're right.

    OTOH, I really wonder whether Romney can capture the nomination.


    I know! (none / 0) (#67)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:29:14 PM EST
    Well, if Romney can find a way to circumvent the south in the primaries he could win the primary. He'd have to figure out a different route to the nomination than people like George W. Bush and Reagan used.

    And Obama had "democrat for a day" so maybe Romney could do "republican for a day" in open primary states.


    Are there 40 votes in the senate to filibuster (none / 0) (#23)
    by magster on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:06:54 AM EST
    the extension?

    That may be the last best hope.

    IMO (none / 0) (#25)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:09:05 AM EST
    if the senate is our last hope we may as well all start making plans to become canadian.

    Tax rates will be reduced (none / 0) (#26)
    by Slado on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:09:11 AM EST
    Tax deductions will be eliminated.

    If you have money this is not necessarily a good thing.  

    What it will lead to is a more efficient and straightforward tax system.

    I find it hard to believe the democrats want to stand for defending our tax system.

    Only taking shots at parts of the plan seems a waste of time.   The demagoguery on Social Security is laughable.  This system can't last.   Cuts will eventually be made and they will be more painful later then now.  Ask Great Britain.

    Defending the status quo is a loser for dems.  Obama realizes this to his credit.   If his base wants to go into financial ruin over the next decade like our friends in Europe then he would be politically smart to leave nuts like Pelosi and Krugman behind.

    Dream on (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by Dadler on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:21:13 AM EST
    The only thing that will be accomplished is the wealthy will continue their free ride and they will NEVER be asked to sacrifice.  Only the poor and working classes are ever asked to sacrifice in this nation, and that, in a word, is wretched.  When the wealthy stop whining and comlplaining like spoiled babied and give a rat's ass about their country, get back to me. This is institutionalized selfishness, nothing more.

    I will state the obvious (none / 0) (#61)
    by Slado on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:02:47 PM EST
    There will always be rich people.  They will always have a better life then poor people.

    Nothing our government does will change that.   All the government can do is make sure there are fewer rich people and more poor people (see communism).

    Once you get past that fact we can have a real argument about tax structure and how it should work.

    No tax system is fair, other then a flat tax and that has other issues.

    As long as you see the tax code as a way to remedy things that can't be changed then we are simply shouting past each other.

    IMHO progressive views on taxes are rather quaint.  I take a more 11 dimensional view of them and it appears the president is siding with me.


    I'll quote NRO for my impression (none / 0) (#63)
    by Slado on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:07:30 PM EST
    of the progressive view on taxes...

    In refrencing the student debates in Great Britain over the rise in education costs.

    As you might expect, the protestors want free education to be paid for by taxing "the rich," that unmolested demographic which generates inexhaustible wealth by building collector-units over the spots in the earth where gold bubbles up from underground caverns. Guarded by elves.

    O isn't worried about 2012... (none / 0) (#42)
    by Yes2Truth on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:33:35 AM EST

    because he isn't going to run.

    Just speaking for me - and what the tea leaves say.

    I believe you (none / 0) (#48)
    by ruffian on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:56:45 AM EST
    and that is even a worse commentary. This might be him unleashed from the chains of caring about re-election!

    I wish....but, no. Not even close. (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:35:49 PM EST
    There are two kinds of politicians...those who want to 'be somebody' and those who want 'to achieve something.'

    Obama posed as the second kind to get elected and will do so again.  What matters to him is the achievement of 'being somebody' and the biggest 'somebody' of all is POTUS.  He will run no matter what.  The Party will back him...if for no other reason that it can't afford a racial split in the Party or the electorate.  And that is why there will be no progrssive challenger to Obama in '12.

    Just remember. It's all about him.  Not the country.  Not the Democrats.  Not poor or middle class people.  Not blacks or Hispanics.  Just him.

    We are doomed for the forseeable future.


    I would like to see (none / 0) (#64)
    by NYShooter on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:09:42 PM EST
    a primary challenge, and it will have to be from the Democrats. No third party is possible.

    Regarding who the candidates might be? How about Feingold/Cuomo? I know Cuomo doesn't have "National" creds yet, but after the "Obama Experience" I wonder how much that matters today. The guy is smart, has a recognizeable name, and projects an image of what the future Democrats could look like.