Obama's 1937: Eating The Present

“The debate in Washington is not whether to cut or to spend,” said a senior administration official on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity to brief reporters on the budget in advance of Mr. Obama’s Monday announcement of the spending plan. “We both agree we should cut. The question is how we cut and what we cut.” - NYTimes

Today Paul Krugman writes that the appropriate slogan for the GOP budget slashing plans is Eating The Future:

On Friday, House Republicans unveiled their proposal for immediate cuts in federal spending. Uncharacteristically, they failed to accompany the release with a catchy slogan. So I’d like to propose one: Eat the Future.

[. . .] The new House majority promised to deliver $100 billion in spending cuts — and its members face the prospect of Tea Party primary challenges if they fail to deliver big cuts. Yet the public opposes cuts in programs it likes — and it likes almost everything. What’s a politician to do?

The answer, once you think about it, is obvious: sacrifice the future. Focus the cuts on programs whose benefits aren’t immediate; basically, eat America’s seed corn. There will be a huge price to pay, eventually — but for now, you can keep the base happy.

In the budget proposal unveiled by the Obama Administration, the following cuts are some of those proposed:

Among the losers are programs that Mr. Obama has supported, even expanded, in the past: Popular programs for home-heating aid to poor families and for community services block grants would be cut in half, and a multi-state Great Lakes cleanup project would lose a quarter of its money compared to 2010.

Pell grants for needy college students would be eliminated for summer classes, and graduate students would start accruing interest immediately on federal loans, though they would not have to pay until after they graduate; both changes are intended to help save $100 billion over 10 years to offset the costs of maintaining Pell grants for 9 million students, according to administration officials.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the negotiation, and the past 2 years evidence that Republicans are much more likely to get their way in the final result.

But let's leave aside the issue of what is cut and by how much. Is this the time to cut government spending? In my view, it is not. The economy, even if one accepts the dubious idea that we are finally in a recovery, still is fragile at best. Unemployment remains sticky. The mortgage crisis still remains unaddressed in a meaningful and effective way.

After two years of inadequate policies, is this really the time to declare victory over the recession? Of course not. 1937 is instructive. In January 2010, Krugman wrote:

Here’s what’s coming in economic news: The next employment report could show the economy adding jobs for the first time in two years. The next G.D.P. report is likely to show solid growth in late 2009. There will be lots of bullish commentary — and the calls we’re already hearing for an end to stimulus, for reversing the steps the government and the Federal Reserve took to prop up the economy, will grow even louder.

But if those calls are heeded, we’ll be repeating the great mistake of 1937, when the Fed and the Roosevelt administration decided that the Great Depression was over, that it was time for the economy to throw away its crutches. Spending was cut back, monetary policy was tightened — and the economy promptly plunged back into the depths.

Are we on more solid footing than we were a year ago? In my opinion, we aren't, but even if you think we are, is cutting spending a prudent policy now? No, it is not. Krugman wrote in 2010:

As you read the economic news, it will be important to remember, first of all, that blips — occasional good numbers, signifying nothing — are common even when the economy is, in fact, mired in a prolonged slump. In early 2002, for example, initial reports showed the economy growing at a 5.8 percent annual rate. But the unemployment rate kept rising for another year.

And in early 1996 preliminary reports showed the Japanese economy growing at an annual rate of more than 12 percent, leading to triumphant proclamations that “the economy has finally entered a phase of self-propelled recovery.” In fact, Japan was only halfway through its lost decade.

[. . .] Which brings us to the still grim fundamentals of the economic situation. During the good years of the last decade, such as they were, growth was driven by a housing boom and a consumer spending surge. Neither is coming back. There can’t be a new housing boom while the nation is still strewn with vacant houses and apartments left behind by the previous boom, and consumers — who are $11 trillion poorer than they were before the housing bust — are in no position to return to the buy-now-save-never habits of yore. What’s left? [. . . W]ill policy makers misinterpret the news and repeat the mistakes of 1937? Actually, they already are.

The Obama fiscal stimulus plan is expected to have its peak effect on G.D.P. and jobs around the middle of [2010], then start fading out. That’s far too early: why withdraw support in the face of continuing mass unemployment? Congress should have enacted a second round of stimulus months ago, when it became clear that the slump was going to be deeper and longer than originally expected. But nothing was done — and the illusory good numbers we’re about to see will probably head off any further possibility of action.

In fact, December 2010 did bring "further action," The Deal. But it was precisely the wrong type of action as it provided inefficient stimulus (tax cuts) while, given the political realities of the Beltway, leading to a cut in effective stimulus, government spending.

It also exacerbates one of our biggest problems, gaping income inequality.

I fear that 2011 will be Obama's 1937.

Speaking for me only

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    In the last thread, I linked to (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 08:48:59 AM EST
    Robert Reich, who sums it all up quite well:  President Obama has chosen to fight fire with gasoline.

    Today (Monday) Obama pours gas on the Republican flame by proposing a 2012 federal budget that cuts the federal deficit by $1.1 trillion over 10 years. About $400 billion of this will come from a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending - including all sorts of programs for poor and working-class Americans, such as heating assistance to low-income people and community-service block grants. Most of the rest from additional spending cuts, such as grants to states for water treatment plants and other environmental projects and higher interest charges on federal loans to graduate students.

    That means the Great Debate starting this week will be set by Republicans: Does Obama cut enough spending? How much more will he have cut in order to appease Republicans? If they don't get the spending cuts they want, will Tea-Party Republicans demand a shut-down?

    Framed this way, the debate invites deficit hawks on both sides of the aisle to criticize Democrats and Republicans alike for failing to take on Social Security and Medicare entitlements. Expect Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of Obama's deficit commission, to say the President needs to do more. Expect Alice Rivlin and Paul Ryan, respectively former Clinton hawk and current Republican budget hawk, to tout their plan for chopping Medicare.

    It's the wrong debate about the wrong thing at the wrong time.

    Cuts to Pell Grants.  Cuts to low-income energy assistance.  Cuts to programs for low-income women and children's nutrition programs.  Cuts to community assistance block grants.

    Notice anything missing?  Like some kind of contribution from individuals in the only sector of the American economy that has anything to spare, perhaps?

    This whole thing is going to be a one-two punch to the gut of the economy: first, the cuts in spending to get us through the year, and then the cuts for the coming fiscal year.  With Obama practically wetting his pants to show how "serious" he is about fiscal restraint and responsibility, what I am expecting is a race to see who can cut the most, with the loser being, you know, us.

    I have such a bad feeling about what's ahead, especially because, as long as the stock market is up and corporate profits are up, it will all be deemed a success, even if the pain and sacrifice exacted by these policies continues to lower the quality of life of way too many people.
    Reich's solution?

    The most direct way to get more money into their pockets is to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (a wage subsidy) all the way up through people earning $50,000, and reduce their income taxes to zero. Taxes on incomes between $50,000 and $90,000 should be cut to 10 percent; between $90,000 and $150,000 to 20 percent; between $150,000 and $250,000 to 30 percent.

    And exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes.

    Make up the revenues by increasing taxes on incomes between $250,000 to $500,000 to 40 percent; between $500,000 and $5 million, to 50 percent; between $5 million and $15 million, to 60 percent; and anything over $15 million, to 70 percent.

    And raise the ceiling on the portion of income subject to payroll taxes to $500,000.

    It's called progressive taxation.

    We have better chances of winning the lottery...

    The Travesty (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by The Maven on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 08:57:06 AM EST
    is that for all intents and purposes, the only two questions Obama appears to have under consideration are (1) how much to cut overall, and (2) which department or program to hack away at.

    The fact that the debate is going to revolve around these issues is yet another indication (as if we really needed any more) that the president has jumped on board the Grover Norquist boat, and has every intention of declaring "victories" whenever cuts to a program are less than originally expected.  King Pyrrhus has found a worthy successor.


    Obama constantly raises the same (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 08:57:47 AM EST
    question as Bush in my mind: is he a complete, blithering moron, or does he think we are?
    As with Bush, it's probably a lot of both.

    My question is, "can we lay to rest (5.00 / 8) (#13)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:09:52 AM EST
    once and for all the utterly ridiculous idea that Obama has even a nodding acquaintance with what it means to be a Democrat, much less a liberal?"

    It's The Hoover Plan, as in "let's turn average and low-income Americans on their heads, shake out whatever change they might have in their pockets, and hoover it all up to give to the one group that hasn't been asked to sacrifice anything..."


    Where is Salo? He had Obama (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:11:50 AM EST
    pegged right from the beginning as an undercover Republican. I also like the analogy of Obama as the relief pitcher. The game is to rob the poor blind and destroy the middle class. We're in the last innings, and Obama is just the right man to help the rich keep their winning margin.

    Relief Pitcher Analogy (none / 0) (#37)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:49:40 AM EST
    IMO, the version that best describes Obama is the relief pitcher who comes out of the bullpen to strike out the lefty.

    I resist the temptation to call Obama the Manchurian Candidate.


    but he walks the lefty instead (none / 0) (#40)
    by Dadler on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:56:06 AM EST
    or gives up a big hit after being up 0-2 in the count.  

    Actually I think that's the form (none / 0) (#121)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:04:56 PM EST
    of the analogy I heard. It's a good one.

    you are so correct (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by kenosharick on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:15:39 AM EST
    every time I hear the "mainstream media" talking about Obama "moving to the middle" (from his supposed far left position) I want to scream.

    They run with what they are fed (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:33:25 AM EST
    I remember when you could listen to the media, hold a notepad in your hand, write down the key phrases, and end up with the Bush administration's talking points memo for the week.  I'm not as suspicious of a Democratic administration so I quit doing that, and the only time I actually hear the "talking points" from the weekly faxed out memo is when it is something that I disagree with.  But everytime I hear it, it is magically said the same way...by every reporter on every channel over and over and over again, as it attempts to wear a groove into my brain and become accepted and common place and burn out my emotional response to it :)

    Haven't you heard? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:54:18 AM EST
    The media has declared common sense to be 'far left.'

    Who knows (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by star on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:58:09 AM EST
    Where Obama stands on any given issue? I seriously doubt if he is 'Left' or 'right' or 'middle' of any issue. He blows which ever way the wind blows and takes the path that 'He thinks' will help him get re-elected/win points in polls/make him Reaganesque. I never could get a measure of his true convictions. It is because of this that he waffles on any issue and waits till he can see how things are going who wins before he has to make a statement on it. We need a DEM president and soon..

    People vs. Boxes -- which is worth more? (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Dadler on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 08:53:20 AM EST
    When we looked over the list of charges the moving company gave us related to our relocation to San Francisco, my wife noticed something interesting and disturbing: the company was paying more to buy the boxes than they were paying TO the actual humans doing the labor of packing and moving those boxes and furniture. And we're not talking about needing an astronomical number of cardboard boxes either, our stuff won't even fill half a truck.  What can you say?  That's not the sign of a healthy society that values all of its citizens.  

    I paid so much for boxes when I moved (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 08:57:15 AM EST
    that I refused to get rid of them and they are still folded up in my garage 5 years later. I'm sure the total was also much more than the labor for moving me. I can only hopes someone was paid decently for making the boxes.

    when I worked as a migrant film worker (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:02:13 AM EST
    I always had bales, literally, of boxes stored someplace.  getting rid of them was one of my favorite milestone moments when I started working full time.

    Got you beat, ruffian (none / 0) (#12)
    by Zorba on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:09:31 AM EST
    We still have moving boxes in our garage from when we moved- over twenty-five years ago!  Although many fewer, since I have used the smaller ones over the years to mail Christmas and birthday packages to relatives.

    Ha! Wow! (none / 0) (#15)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:18:47 AM EST
    Yes, I have used a few, and given many away too. But I will still have a nice head start for the next move, if the humidity does not get to them too badly. They seem to be holding up quite well so far. Whenever I think of getting rid of them I remember all the trips I made to various places to buy them or find them. Next time I may just donate most of the books rather than pack them.

    I'd consider buying my own boxes, (none / 0) (#8)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:01:45 AM EST
    maybe from one of those storage facilities, or collecting them for free from stores in the neighborhood, and giving a bigger tip to the humans employed to get them on the truck.

    But, you're right: this is not a sign of a healthy society - and not much coming out of WAshington is likely to do anything but make that worse.  


    usually we do buy our own (none / 0) (#17)
    by Dadler on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:26:23 AM EST
    this is the first time we've moved so far, and my wife's new company hired the movers basically, and they use their own boxes.  like an earlier reply, we've still got the huge pile of boxes from our last move.  we're going to make sure to tip the actual movers very generously.  and i'll write a nice letter to the company saying how dismayed i was.  

    Boxes are very expensive (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:05:49 AM EST
    I think it was $2.50 per box when we last moved.  I found some rough totes on sale for $3.00 each and bought all they had.  They stack and store pretty easy.  The pile gets whittled away though as our daughter moves, or needs them for storage.

    I realize how expensive boxes are (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Dadler on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:58:35 AM EST
    We've had to buy or scrounge for our own in the past.  I'm just a more than a tad confounded that humans could be assigned a lesser value.  If, say, we were talking about having to use a fleet of Ferraris to move our stuff then, okay, I could see the movers making a little less than the cars cost.  But boxes?  Yeesh.  

    I hear you (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:05:32 AM EST
    And packing a family to move and doing it well is not easy.  It takes a lot of skill and a lot of energy.

    I'm not sure how the comparison works (none / 0) (#145)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:32:25 PM EST
    Are you comparing the total bill for boxes vs the total hourly wage of the workers? The truck is more expensive than the workers too. I don't think that means the workers are not important. I hope they are getting a fair wage and that you are a big tipper.

    The Deal was such a disaster in so many ways, (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:05:45 AM EST
    all of which BTD has well cataloged.

    A Democratic president ought to be able to make the case to the country that people making over 300k a year do not need a tax cut if it means making spending cuts that 'eat the future'. And between 100k and 300k could have had a portion of their Bush tax cut expire. We are talking about people that are employed and are more and more likely to stay that way.

    Just ridiculous - and for what? How many votes does he think he is going to get with this gambit?

    It's not about the votes (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:44:51 AM EST
    It's about the campaign coffers.  And 6 years hence, about the personal coffers.

    Probably true (none / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:45:52 AM EST
    How much money do you need to beat Mike Huckabee?

    Probably tons, actually.


    What would (none / 0) (#51)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:32:19 AM EST
    be funny in a sick sort of way would be that Huckabee won using a lot less money. I mean there is a point where media saturation turns people off for example Meg Whitman in CA.

    Would there be any benefit to (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:00:11 AM EST
    sending out a search party for Democrats?  Because, at this stage, it seems to be all about Obama and Republicans, and they seem to be having a fine time crafting a plan (lots of lunches with the president in the last couple of weeks):

    From Elizabeth Drew, in the NY Review of Books:

    Obama wants to preempt the Republicans on some legislative issues. This is already disappointing or even enraging his most ardent followers, but he's also making a strenuous effort to win back for 2012 the independents who made his victory possible in 2008 but then voted Republican in 2010.

    To accomplish that goal, Obama has ceded the Republicans considerable territory and is arguing on their terms. He has accepted the long-held Republican premises that the government is too big and unwieldy, that regulations can get in the way of jobs, that the huge deficit can be handled by spending reductions without tax increases, and that federal workers (a frequent target of "small government" advocates) must accept a wage freeze (already imposed).


    But despite all the confrontational rhetoric between the two parties about budget priorities, the White House and Republican congressional leaders, in private talks, have agreed on the need to try to reach a bipartisan "grand bargain" over the budget--a sweeping deal that could include entitlements and tax reforms as well as budget reduction. A Senate Republican leadership aide confirmed this, saying, "In fact, for anything to happen, it will require such a White House/congressional leadership bargain." The preferred idea is that, just as they did late last year on the tax bill, they would reach an agreement and then unveil it to the public.

    At the same time, a bipartisan group of leading senators have met in an effort to cut the deficit--which could become a part of the debt-reduction puzzle. The thinking is that the Tea Party allies might be brought along in the end, because their primary goal is to reduce the deficit. The details will be difficult, but a surprising sort of deficit-cutting fever has broken out on Capitol Hill, fueled in part by a fear that at some point the bond markets and foreign lenders will call in their loans, setting off a disastrous financial crisis. Right now, there's a game of chicken going on over who will offer their proposals first, but this should be resolvable.

    The question is, how painful will that resolution be?  And does anyone in the WH give a flying fig about anything other than the politics?

    David Dayen:

    The structures of politics are being applied to this budget problem, not the structures of policy. And it's short-term, narrow politics: on the Pell grant piece, for example, squeezing the younger generation through eliminating grants for summer classes and allowing interest to accrue in graduate school loses the future for students who will remember it, particularly for some of the stronger Democratic constituencies, like public interest lawyers in training.

    Batten down the hatches; this is going to be as ugly an unfolding of events as I can remember in a long, long time.

    WOuld be (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:56:44 AM EST
    interesting to see how cuts to college students will affect the youth movement for BO's re-election campaign.  

    Yes it would (none / 0) (#45)
    by Dadler on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:00:42 AM EST
    We shall see, we shall see...

    The ten-year cost of (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by KeysDan on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:17:15 AM EST
    renewing the Bush tax cuts (excluding the estate tax bonanza) will be about $4 trillion.  The failed commission on deficit reduction (aka Bowles/Simpson Catfood Commission) came up with $4 trillion reduction in projected debt through 2020, an amount achieved with nasty cuts in almost all areas of the budget and some increases in revenue.

    That $4 trillion is about four times the ten-year "savings" gained by the Obama budget that eats our  present and future, hurts the poor and needy and impedes  economic recovery for all. And, this is before Boehner and Ryan's handiwork.   Oh, and which pathway to the $4 trillion makes the most budgetary sense, hurts the economy least and puts the federal government in a better position to help the  troubled States?  

    Must. Protect. The. Wealthy. (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:37:43 AM EST
    No matter how little sense it makes, no matter how painful the consequences are to those hanging on by their fingernails, to those struggling from month to month to keep their heads above water.  To those staring down retirement in the next five years.  To those who just need a little help, and now stand no chance of ever getting it.

    Corporate America will love it.  Salaries and bonuses at the top will continue to break records.  The stock market will flourish.

    And speaking of the stock market - any thoughts on social impact bonds?  

    "What are social impact bonds?"
    The short answer: a vehicle offering investors bond-like returns for taking equity-like risks on investing in potential solutions to socio-economic challenges. The key to success lies in the performance results achieved by the social service providers. If yes, investors gain bond-like returns sourced from cash linked to that performance. If the providers fall short, however, investors suffer equity-like losses. A group called Social Finance is experimenting with social impact bonds aimed at reducing recidivism among inmates in a UK prison. If they lower the recidivism rate by 10% greater than comparable prisons, investors gain between 7.5% to 13.5% returns. If the social service providers fail to do this, investors lose their money.


    What is deeply concerning, though, is how some elites are packaging and promoting social impact bonds as yet one more example of everything the market does is good while everything government does is bad. Moreover, these same elites betray a stunningly superficial grasp about how markets actually work.

    This is lamentable. Think for a moment about a common method among athletic coaches. Whether its tennis, golf, baseball, or any other sport, coaches know that athletes might get the right or wrong results by doing things the right or wrong way. You might win a tennis match with a sloppy forehand - and, ultimately, if you're to improve your game, you need to win matches hitting forehands correctly. My skepticism, then, is less about using and learning from social impact bonds than about the `right result, wrong way' advocacy that links them to ideological `givens' about always good markets and always bad government. Moreover, this same overly simplistic positioning threatens to create `wrong result, wrong way' outcomes by too easily producing misuses of social impact bonds in ways that cause them to fail.

    Long article - worth reading and taking the time to digest.

    Why does this scare the crap out of me?

    Today, the White House plans to ask Congress for permission to conduct a $100 million test of "social impact bonds," a promising, experimental investment scheme out of England designed to get better results from publicly funded social services by harnessing the discipline of the private market.

    Ah, yes, the discipline of the private market...how could that possibly go wrong???

    Time for the Advil.


    Advil (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:09:52 PM EST
    or maybe gin.

    Why not both? (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:44:15 PM EST
    add some antacids, though.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#196)
    by cal1942 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 01:11:06 AM EST
    It'll probably take both.

    Not gin - can't stand the taste... (none / 0) (#201)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 06:41:13 AM EST
    would have to be vodka, I think.

    Am liking the whole idea of a nice white sandy beach, crystal clear waters, a lounge chair and umbrella, plenty of ice-cold lemonade (with the addition of some good vodka late in the afternoon) and an endless supply of good books.

    Makes me feel better just thinking about it...


    I never dreamed I could say this, (none / 0) (#188)
    by rennies on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 05:48:14 PM EST
    but I now think Obama's election has been/will be more disasterous to the country than if McCain had been elected. At least then Republicans would be squarely to blame, and a genuine Democrat would have a chance in 2012.

    Its like the country is committing Harikiri (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by esmense on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:23:50 AM EST

    Maybe a better image is anorexia (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by esmense on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:26:50 AM EST
    We're killing ourselves and congratulating ourselves for doing it.

    Who is we? (none / 0) (#32)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:34:18 AM EST
    I don't think anyone here, or any average American would willingly do this.

    Unfortunately, the people doing this are (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by esmense on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:42:49 AM EST
    people "we," in the sense of the nation, elected. You and I may not have chosen this, but we are part of the "we" suffering the consequences nonetheless.

    We (none / 0) (#50)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:16:56 AM EST
    are suffering the consequences.  I don't think many voters consciously chose this, so WE haven't done anything here.  

    "THEY" is the proper term.  


    It is we (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:43:16 AM EST
    Like it or not we're all in this together.  

    And like it or not, as a PEOPLE, we're getting about what we deserve.


    "They" aren't the ones who are (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by esmense on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:48:01 AM EST
    suffering, Theresa. In fact, the people shaping and insisting on these policies are making out like bandits. But "we" as a nation are dying.

    On the contrary (none / 0) (#146)
    by CoralGables on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:33:28 PM EST
    far from anorexia, we are more like a bloated pig. The interest on our national debt is growing at a faster rate than any other part of our spending.

    So you're ok with cutting (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by nycstray on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:56:02 PM EST
    grants, heating assist etc? Cause as long as the cheering continues, so will Obama . . .

    not cheering (none / 0) (#118)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:02:43 PM EST
    also not setting my hair on fire.

    Sounds suspicioulsy like (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:05:18 PM EST
    defending to me.

    I think that is fine.

    I happen to think it is wrong on the politics and the "negotiation."

    Obama's proposals are meaningful only in the sense as they set the Dem starting point of negotiation.

    It is a bad place to start.


    it might be called defending (none / 0) (#126)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:08:34 PM EST
    it is not cheering.  

    and honestly not meant as either.  I think what I have seen so far is horrendous.  I also think we are not at the end of the process so I am delaying setting my hair on fire.


    Easter Island Redux (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:18:22 PM EST
    Of course the DoD is off-limits, never mind that it is bleeding this country dry, let's go after the ineffectual and weakest amongst us.

    $10 Billion a year for 10 years, wow, what a dent that will make considering the sacrifice, enriching young people with knowledge, cleaning up one of our greatest assets, and poor people keeping warm.

    All for what, tax breaks for people who can't decide if they want a yacht this month or summer home #104 in some tropical sounding local.

    Yeah Obama, sure making me joyous at not picking McCain.

    The thing that pi$$es me off the most, is all these right wing clowns still hating the guy who has not found a issue he will not cave on.  He is basically right wing lite, or a gateway to harder right wing policies.

    Um (none / 0) (#142)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:24:16 PM EST
    He's proposing almost $80 billion in cuts for defense.

    My Bad. (none / 0) (#147)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:34:02 PM EST
    I see grad students, who will accumulate (none / 0) (#154)
    by oculus on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:45:28 PM EST
    interest now while still in grad programs as the "New Egyptians."

    The biggest problem here is that the (5.00 / 2) (#143)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:26:08 PM EST
    policies represented by the budget are bad, and that problem is being exacerbated by the viral urban legend that we are all doomed if we don't get our fiscal house in order RIGHT NOW.

    Obama had this to say today, at a middle school not 10 miles from where I'm sitting:

    I'm also looking forward to working with members of both parties to take steps beyond this budget freeze -- because cutting annual domestic spending won't be enough to meet our long-term fiscal challenges. As the bipartisan fiscal commission concluded, the only way to truly tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it -- in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes. So what we've done here is make a down payment, but there's going to be more work that needs to be done, and it's going to require Democrats and Republicans coming together to make it happen.

    But David Dayen reminds us:

    The budget...looks to the future because the present is inconvenient. Budget cuts in the near term - and this budget plan foresees them as soon as October - simply reduce aggregate demand. You may be able to target those efficiently in one way or the other, you may be able to align the budget more intelligently, and wring out the unnecessary corporate welfare and duplicative programs. It's worth it to fix our crumbling infrastructure and prioritize that in the budget. Maybe it's even worth it to get Republicans tongue-tied and force them into an intra-party split. But one man's waste is another man's annual salary. In the most general terms, focusing on the deficit now reduces demand in the economy.

    Giving up on the present also has major impacts on the future. It reduces the earning potential of the millions who have given up on looking for work in this job market. It keeps the economy in a crucial imbalance. It keeps revenues unsustainably low. There's no way to reduce the deficit, assuming that's something you wanted to do, if you have 9% unemployment. That's not a message being told right now.

    Bad policy is bad policy.  That's the reality.  And whether it's come about because of the political considerations, or because the person behind the policy believes in what he's proposing, the only thing that matters is that this is what we have to deal with.

    Accepting it, or defending it, as part of a re-election strategy does not, in my opinion, ultimately serve the interests of the majority of the people who will have to live - on a daily basis - with the consequences of the policy.

    "The greater good" is, apparently, not a factor in the design and implementation of this administration's economic policy; guess I can cross one more item off the increasingly shorter, "Things Democrats Stand For" list.  

    man (none / 0) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 08:35:00 AM EST
    cutting pell grants and infrastructure.
    that'll do it.

    the most amazing thing to me, well maybe not, is the silence of the tea party.

    only Ron Paul, as usual, is willing to be honest.

    Misnamed (none / 0) (#7)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:01:08 AM EST
    Make up the revenues by increasing taxes on incomes between $250,000 to $500,000 to 40 percent; between $500,000 and $5 million, to 50 percent; between $5 million and $15 million, to 60 percent; and anything over $15 million, to 70 percent.

    And raise the ceiling on the portion of income subject to payroll taxes to $500,000.

    It's called progressive taxation.

    It is better called a plan to get the highest incomes to report less income, and/or for locating the highest paying jobs in other countries.  Perhaps Reich has an interest in an executive relocation business as this proposal is a boon to the offshoring industry.

    let the cowards flee then (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by Dadler on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:30:42 AM EST
    and let them try to hide their money. if you want to bleed your own country dry and not pair your fair share relative to those much less fortunate (for whom EVERY penny paid means a REAL sacrifice of physical need), then you SHOULD have to flee or conceal your ill-gotten gains like a selfish and careless and spoiled child, you SHOULD be burdened at least by that.  

    there are no bigger group of whiners and complainers than the wildly wealthy.  they take the cake, they eat it, then they sh*t on everyone else.  


    Debunked theory (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by waldenpond on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:00:57 PM EST
    As always, the Galt theory of withholding their awesomeness/pouting has been debunked.  Just last week, there was a study of CT/Mass (?) where one state jacked up it's taxes, only a few people moved out and more moved in.

    Also, debunked, the magical 'thinking' (for lack of a reality based word) story of jobs leaving CA for TX.  I don't know where people get this garbage, but until people start banning others from the public square for outright lying, the public will remain stupid.  You can't have a democracy with a stupid public.... but I guess that's the goal.

    Long live the oligarchy!


    Garbage? (none / 0) (#97)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:48:53 PM EST
    Yes, it's crap (none / 0) (#144)
    by waldenpond on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:29:01 PM EST
    135k out of 38 million for CA is a drop in the bucket.  Yes, it's an increase but to a trivial number.  CA is STILL one of the 4 MOST stable states.  People also left for AZ, WA and NV to almost the same degree but no one is trying to hold up some fantasy regarding those states.

    80% of the increase in jobs in TX is from lower wage service sector.  Hardly a positive.

    It's like trotting out private sector wage changes in dollars (wee! look at TX!!!OMG) instead of as a percentage of the state's economy.


    thanks for your usual thorough work Donald (none / 0) (#168)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:30:38 PM EST
    IMO California has one thing that competing states like Florida and and Texas just don't - and that is a surplus of very intelligent people in all walks of life. CA long attracted the best of all of the professions, and also still has a relatively stellar higher education system. It matters.

    Hasn't this been the case for decades? (none / 0) (#171)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:35:36 PM EST
    When I lived in Texas in the 1990s, people from California were coming in droves because the technology companies were moving from Silicon Valley to Austin - same pay, much cheaper standard of living for similar demographics (young, highly educated population, great cultural opportunities, etc.)

    They drink and smoke a lot of pot (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:40:51 PM EST
    That way you don't have to face reality.

    A closer look (none / 0) (#193)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 07:03:23 PM EST

    "California's unemployment rate has exceeded the U.S. rate for 20 years, even when California's employment growth surpasses U.S. growth, as it did during the technology boom in the late 1990s."

    Yes they have a nice graph at your link.  What you fail to mention that rate closely matched the US rate during the 80's and early 90's.  But even more notable is that the current difference appears to be at an all time high.

    ...the state loses only 9,000 jobs annually as a result of relocation--that's just 0.05 percent of California's 18 million jobs.

    A loss is a loss, and this appears to count only the direct loss.  In addition there is loss of employment at vendors to those companies that moved, and lost jobs of companies that expand out of state.  For example Toyota is no longer assembling at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, and those thousands of lost jobs are probably counted as "contraction and closure" rather than as relocations although Toyota still assembles those models (other than the Pontiac Vibe) elsewhere.  No matter what you choose to call it, those Toyota jobs have left California.

    Perhaps I missed it, but there appears to be no explanation as to why California changed from a net jobs importer to a net exporter.  



    word (none / 0) (#22)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:51:55 AM EST
    This looks just like (none / 0) (#39)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:54:23 AM EST

    California's policy of moving jobs and income to Texas.  

    LOl. Supposing you're right, that (none / 0) (#43)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:59:59 AM EST
    didn't work out so well for Texas, did it?

    I did (none / 0) (#194)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 07:38:11 PM EST

    That report's main author must have been Pollyanna.

    For example (none / 0) (#202)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 08:47:00 AM EST

    Was there an explanation of why California's unemployment rate that was very close to the national rate, sometimes a bit over and sometimes a bit under 20 to 30 years ago has changed to be consistently over for the past 20 years and is now at an all time record difference?  Apparently not.

    What is foolish is to take the Pollyanna view that that whopping increase in unemployment says nothing substantial about the California economy.


    Fair share? (none / 0) (#107)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:56:52 PM EST

    Bleed dry?  Less fortunate?  Well that is the sales pitch, but the reality is Billions on Billions to be spent on crony capitalism and corporate welfare.  

    Destroying wealth via wasteful high speed rail, ethanol, expensive and unreliable wind/solar power will leave us all "less fortunate" except for those rent seekers on the gravy train, and the politicians they kickback to.


    Let me just say... (none / 0) (#149)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:39:36 PM EST

    And may I (none / 0) (#155)
    by CoralGables on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:47:19 PM EST
    second that oy

    [raises hand] (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:44:27 AM EST
    I have in interest in executive relocation.  I think their jobs should be just as likely to move off-shore as those of the rank and file.

    No need to have a CEO (none / 0) (#47)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:09:40 AM EST
    stationed here. There is nothing geographical about his duties. Hire someone in east Asia for one tenth the cost.

    Calling Capt. Howdy (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:52:54 AM EST
    Is your company thinking about leaving Illinois in reaction to the recent business income tax increase?

    no (none / 0) (#24)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:58:35 AM EST
    not at all.  that is a hugely overblown mostly republican story actually.

    it is funny tho.  for one paycheck I saw the little bump provided by Obamas cut and it was perfectly wiped out plus exactly one cent in the next one.


    That's what I thought (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:43:59 AM EST
    Just wanted some actual facts in the conversation!

    oddly (none / 0) (#49)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:15:56 AM EST
    I think the phenom I described above kept most people from even noticing it.

    on a personal level mean.  if I had not been paying attention I would have missed it.


    A vigorous, (none / 0) (#65)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:05:13 PM EST
    well funded IRS can uncover unreported income.  And off to jail for the cheaters.  Hard time.

    The idea that we dare not fairly tax the very wealthy is either fear or worship.

    It's not just the revenue.  It's keeping the money in the country for public investment.  Low taxes on the wealthy simply allows the money to flee the country looking for the highest return.


    It can't (none / 0) (#195)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 08:27:25 PM EST

    It can't uncover income that was not earned in the first place.  The problem is completely legal tax avoidance rather than tax evasion.

    An example is an author that delays finishing a new manuscript at a 70% rate hoping for a lower rate in the future.  Another example is an employee that takes an extra week of vacation rather than a raise.

    More IRS agents won't get an extra nickle out of either one of those two, but will leave less money for vital programs that the poor depend on.



    Maybe (none / 0) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:02:26 AM EST
    Obama can even do it one better like Nathan Deal: ask everybody else to take cuts while you increase the budget for your own personal staff and spending. I'm sure he won't be cutting back on his vacations like he's asking everybody else to do.

    Krugman was very insightful (none / 0) (#16)
    by me only on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:26:19 AM EST
    The key point to understand is that while many voters say that they want lower spending, press the issue a bit further and it turns out that they only want to cut spending on other people.

    Too bad he hasn't figured out the that people also only want to tax other people as well.

    No other country in the OECD already depends so heavily for its funding on high income earners.

    not me (none / 0) (#21)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:48:11 AM EST
    I don't want to only tax other people.  I would be happy to have my taxes raised if they were going to domestic interests instead of being thrown away on two wars.  I would like my taxes raised.  And yours too, if you are over the poverty line.

    Heh (none / 0) (#159)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 02:25:53 PM EST
    I will pay more taxes only if it is spent this way.  I love it.  
    Set the example!  Just think of the high horse you could preach from if you voluntarily paid more taxes.  

    Actually I already do (5.00 / 2) (#170)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:32:52 PM EST
    Voluntarily pay more taxes, that is.  I don't deduct considerable charitable donations.  On principle -- they are made to benefit others, not myself.  I'm impossibly old school that way.

    So apparently my horse is Clydesdale high.

    So, go ahead.  Follow my example.


    Congratulations (none / 0) (#174)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:51:06 PM EST
    I do follow your example.  It is known as hedging your bets with the IRS.  

    hedging my bets? with the IRS? (none / 0) (#180)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:07:20 PM EST
    I thought I cynical.  Apparently others are more so.

    Then again, it's results that count.  Want to ride my Clydesdale?


    That's a side effect of (none / 0) (#200)
    by observed on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 05:01:01 AM EST
    the transfer of wealth to the rich which Reagan tax policy caused.

    Doesn't seem to be much any of us (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:00:07 AM EST
    can do about it either anymore. I can say to all of our leaders though both Democrat and Republican that they should notice Egypt and the entire Middle East for that matter, because the rest of us can't help but stare.  The industrialized world decide to save the oligarchy instead of people and now they have even come for our children's lives doing it.  Be advised that the rest of us could learn something from the Middle East about dealing with self serving people destroying oligarchies.

    What did people think would happen? (none / 0) (#48)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:11:35 AM EST
    Republicans slaughtered the Dems in the mid-terms, the narrative was set that the defeat was a result of too much spending. Liberals pretended that they if they punished Dems by not showing up at the polls or campaigning for them, then that would send a message for the politicians to be more liberal. You got what you asked for. You think Bush was bad, get ready for what comes next if the Dems don't hold the presidency in 2012. It will be a nightmare.

    As if it isn't already? (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:40:52 AM EST
    Golly, I guess it's a good thing, then, that we have a president strongly committed to upholding the bedrock tenets of Democratic governance, huh?  

    Oh, wait...we don't actually have that, do we?  No, we have a guy with (D) after his name, who hasn't got a clue what that even means, who is philosophically more aligned with Republicans than even I thought possible.

    Please, let's not get into the sad argument that we must - no matter what the cost - support Democrats in order to keep the evil and deranged Republicans out of the WH and out of Congress, shall we?  For all intents and purposes we HAVE a Republican in the WH, and we have plenty more just like him masquerading as Democrats in the halls of Congress.

    Obama's turning himself inside-out trying to advance Republican ideas under a Democratic imprimatur - he's completely ruined the Democratic brand, in my opinion - and the Grand Delusion is that because it's coming from a president with that (increasingly meaningless) (D) after his name, we really should embrace it, love it, defend it, excuse it, lest those nasty Republicans get the upper hand.

    Which Republicans already have, because Obama keeps giving it to them - something delusion has blinded people to.

    "Two Percent Less Evil" is the saddest reason for continuing to support a president and a party that has little or no interest in supporting us; we don't deserve the abuse and disrespect that too many people think we HAVE TO keep voting for.

    I may have "nowhere else to go" politically, but I will be damned if I'm going to keep willingly enabling - through tactics of fear and/or guilt - policies and legislation that are not in my best interests, or in the best interests of the country or the democracy.


    Two Words (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by me only on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:06:37 PM EST

    Okay (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:39:05 PM EST
    Somewhat powerful words, surely.  Not quite as powerful as say:


    but somewhat powerful, to be sure.  Unfortunately that power is greatly weakened by

    SS 2%
    The Deal
    Deficite "reduction"

    You see where I'm going here?


    Your arguments assume (none / 0) (#175)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:51:33 PM EST
    That had McCain won, Stevens and Souter would still have retired.

    Yes, it's all our fault (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:47:02 AM EST
    We DFH's are to blame for Obama bending over for Republicans at every turn. Oh but wait, he was already doing that, prety much on a daily basis, when he had a majority in both houses of Congress.

    You do realize that it was mostly blue dog conservative Dems that lost their seats in 2010, right?


    I do realize that shoephone (none / 0) (#77)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:16:23 PM EST
    You do realize that the ultimate result of the midterm defeat was Dems becoming more conservative, not less? Don't worry though, I'm sure you and others will sleep comfortable holding onto your precious principles when a Pres Palin or someone of a similar ilk takes the entire country on a trip to crazy land. The midterm message to Dems was clear -- you're too liberal.

    You realize nothing (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:32:27 PM EST
    You are beholden to the silly little "D" next to a pol's name, without understanding or caring about the principles behind it. The letter means nothing. Words mean nothing. Only actions mean something. And Dems who fail at representing their constituents get booted out of office. Boo-hoo. Have a hanky.

    Don't need a hanky, shoephone (none / 0) (#88)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:38:45 PM EST
    You don't seem to understand what the alternative is. I really don't think you have quite grasped where the Repubs are at and what you get when you kick out those Dems who didn't do everything you wanted.

    News flash: (5.00 / 0) (#90)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:42:15 PM EST
    I voted for my Dem in 2010 because he represents my interests. But if he was a phony blue dog who was screwing me, I would have voted against him. It's called democracy, dearie. But you are beholden to the two-party system which has become a big, fat corrupt joke.  Good luck.

    "What's the alternative?" (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:44:44 PM EST
    "Where else are you gonna go?"

    Memes from the past that mean little.


    Not beholden to anything (none / 0) (#94)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:46:54 PM EST
    I just see reality. The system is the way it is. That's fine, don't vote for the crappy blue dog. But what you will get the crazy tea party. Keep in mind, you don't like the proposed spending cuts, but neither do the Repubs. The only difference, they want them deeper, much deeper. Where do you think the debate will end up once the blue dogs are gone?

    You are unaware there is a Dem controlled Senate? (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:53:49 PM EST
    Do you think the House gets to make legislation all by itself?

    Anyway, your protests are flimsy at best, because the Repubs were able to frame the debate and obstruct when they were still in the minority in the House. Interesting, eh?


    "I just see reality." (5.00 / 0) (#110)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:58:13 PM EST
    There you go again.

    In my opinion, you don't.


    I can't speak for shoephone, but I'm (5.00 / 0) (#102)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:53:40 PM EST
    pretty sure, from reading her comments, that she has an excellent grasp of the situation.

    What you don't seem to grasp is that as long as we keep settling for mediocre representation, for no other reason than that those on the other side of the aisle are marginally worse, the quality of our representation - of the candidates we have to choose from - is going to continue to decline.

    Each of us has to decide when enough is enough; it's clear you haven't reached that point.

    I just don't see how contining to support mediocre-bordering-on-reprehensible is going to raise the bar.


    Yet again (5.00 / 3) (#108)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:57:34 PM EST
    you seem intent on attributing the actions of the electorate to the "Left." You write:

    [W]hat you get when you kick out those Dems who didn't do everything you wanted.

    I think those Dems got kicked out in some measure because in fact, they did not do what I suggested. If they had, then the economy would have been better, unemployment would have been lower, etc.

    Of course, if your view is that there were not better policy choices for the Dems in Congress and the White House, then of course your view is that the results of the election were inevitbale, IRRESPECTIVE of what the shoephones of the world did or think.

    It seems silly to act as if this was all shoephone, and people like shoephonee's fault.  


    this is (none / 0) (#114)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:00:40 PM EST
    I think those Dems got kicked out in some measure because in fact, they did not do what I suggested.

    I believe what she is saying, not to put words in anyones mouth, is that they may be spinless clueless idiots but they are, IN FACT, better than the alternative.



    sorry (none / 0) (#115)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:01:22 PM EST
    meant to say that quote is true.

    Exactly Capt. (none / 0) (#128)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:09:37 PM EST
    The alternative to the Blue Dogs is horrific. You may not like everything they do and I would suggest primaries are great avenues to express displeasure, but you have to realize while the debate here is over whether Obama is just like Bush or worse than Bush, on the right they are talking about whether to slowly defund the Dept. of Educ. or just kill it outright, how far have muslims infiltrated the the government, where Obama was born, you get the idea. I'm telling you, the so-called moderates of the Repubs have lost control to the crazies and soon the crazies will be running the show.

    You are wrong (none / 0) (#117)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:02:30 PM EST
    on what Lacey has argued.

    fine (none / 0) (#124)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:05:44 PM EST
    then I will stfu and go back to work.

    I hate piling on.


    Lacey is the "realist" victim (none / 0) (#127)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:08:35 PM EST
    in this thread according to you? I dislike that idea.

    Indeed, I dislike the idea that people disagreeing is "piling on."

    Here at Talk Left we ask that disagreements be expressed civilly.

    You weren't very civil it seems to me.  


    Actually... (none / 0) (#129)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:10:43 PM EST
    Capt was pretty much bang on.

    Heh (none / 0) (#132)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:13:04 PM EST
    It seems to me that you both are misunderstanding each other.

    Unless you are now staking a position that says that the Dems failure to do what I, BTD, told them to do, was the cause of their demise, as opposed to the shoephones of the world.

    He quoted me, not you, saying you agree with me.

    I pretty sure we are in complete disagreement on these points.


    ya (none / 0) (#134)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:13:48 PM EST
    you are on your own.  I really have to earn a living.

    Are you going to play the (none / 0) (#89)
    by nycstray on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:41:18 PM EST
    RvW card next?

    Lacey (none / 0) (#92)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:45:44 PM EST
    it isnt about that.  really.

    havent you gotten it by now (1.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:18:51 PM EST
    it could be president Genghis Khan as long as its not Obama.

    and no they really dont care.  that one in fact was for a very long time one of Palins defenders here.

    eventually that got a little to insane.  who knew that was possible.


    Capt Howdy (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:34:48 PM EST
    If you are implying I was ever was one of Palin's defenders, you are full of sh*t. I have never defended that woman.

    really! (1.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:46:25 PM EST
    project for a later time when I have it.  noted.

    Good luck with that (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:47:57 PM EST
    But you won't get too far by telling lies about me.

    Please move on (none / 0) (#113)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:59:45 PM EST
    from Howdy.

    Done. (none / 0) (#123)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:05:33 PM EST
    Hey, waste your time however (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:03:36 PM EST
    you like. No need to share the results---we already know your spiel.
    You're like Rush on mushrooms: Everything is still about the Clintons, only  in a strange, psychedelic way that makes no sense to anyone else.

    Stop it Howdy (none / 0) (#112)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:59:31 PM EST
    Your behavior in this thread is over the line.

    The danger Capt (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:51:36 PM EST
    Is that if this keeps up it will be Prez Genghis Khan. I don't think some on here realize where the Repubs are at and how crazy the party has gotten.

    Here's the (5.00 / 3) (#133)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:13:26 PM EST
    problem with that: people are sick of voting AGAINST the GOP. They want something to vote FOR. You are simply offering, ONCE AGAIN, the same shopworn crap of the other guy is worse. PEOPLE DON'T CARE because the Dems did very little to change this equation when they had power. Why should people be afraid of voting for the GOP when the entire Democratic party headed by Obama spends eons chasing their votes and telling everybody that they want to work with them?

    What you are trying sell can't be sold because Obama himself continually undercuts that message.


    No, but I wouldn't equate Obama with Bush (none / 0) (#137)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:17:23 PM EST
    And I wouldn't act surprised that Obama and Dems are looking at cutting spending. That was the message the media has been harping for months since the midterms. It shouldn't shock anyone.

    You have (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:37:29 PM EST
    to admit though that Obama has continued many of Bush's policies to the disappointment of many people.

    including me (none / 0) (#152)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:43:16 PM EST
    and I would bet Lacey

    know what (none / 0) (#156)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:51:25 PM EST
    you are right.  I wish to god it was not so but you are right.  about pretty much all of that.

    the thing is, they SHOULD care.  because as bad as things are they can get worse.


    yes (none / 0) (#158)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 02:21:08 PM EST
    things can get worse but it is almost an impossible sell and poor politics to play that game. It's the game McCain tried to play in 2008 and Obama tried to play in 2010 and unless you have some hot button issue like Bush did in 2004 it never works.

    Ridiculous comment (none / 0) (#111)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:58:55 PM EST
    This seems false (none / 0) (#105)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:53:59 PM EST
    "the ultimate result of the midterm defeat was Dems becoming more conservative, not less?"

    If you mean the Dem caucuses, then in fact elected Dems in the Congress became more progressive, not more conservative.

    If you mean Obama, I doubt there has been much change in his approach.


    it would be hard (none / 0) (#109)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:57:42 PM EST
    to argue that the dems have not been out of sheer spineless cluelessness have been driven to the right because of the "drubbing" in the fall.

    its true that more blue dogs lost than progressives but that only shows that the blue dogs are no longer conservative enough.


    Name an issue (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Where the Dems in Congress are now more "conservative" than they were?

    Hell, name an issue where Obama is "more conservative" than he was?

    This is nonsense.


    by more conservative (none / 0) (#120)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:04:44 PM EST
    I mean they are even more likely to be brow beaten into submission.  because they lost big time.

    you know and I know why that is.  do they?  who knows.

    if you do not think they are actually more conservative, fine.  I dont they have many convictions beyond the next election.


    "Browbeaten?" (none / 0) (#125)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:06:49 PM EST
    I doubt it. The House Dems will be ignored.

    The Senate Dems will do what Obama tells them to do.

    Do you mean Obama will be browbeaten?

    I ask again, on what particular issue would that be?


    Obama possibly (none / 0) (#130)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:10:57 PM EST
    and certainly the senate dems.  that is, the ones who disagree and who could possibly do something to change it.  I realize many agree.

    as far as issues.  lets start with the budget.


    Again, I doubt it (none / 0) (#135)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:14:35 PM EST
    Tell me which Senate Dems have become "more conservative?"

    Hell, Harry Reid for one, has become more aggressive imo. At least on Social Security.


    What kind of position or strategy (none / 0) (#167)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:28:13 PM EST
    is Sen. Durbin assuming on deficit type matters?
    One thing that I have noticed: An increased amount of posturing--for the media or general "I'm-more-deficit-hawk-than-the-other-guy"--by a few key players. That posturing may just be for the cameras....

    Durbin (none / 0) (#176)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:53:29 PM EST
    is reliably "whatever Obama tells me to do."

    "You got what you asked for" (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:55:18 AM EST
    I'm pretty sure I didn't.

    My husband & I understand (none / 0) (#203)
    by christinep on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 02:35:10 PM EST
    full well the "take a break & take some time" call that you shared, Donald. Please do write a lot from the bench--er beach--as you explore what is to be explored. In short: Your comments tend to be straightforward, thoughtful, provocative, sometimes quite instructive and ...entertaining.  Thanks.

    What happened next after Bush (none / 0) (#58)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:56:01 AM EST
    is already worse!
    Obama is more conservative than Bush in many ways, and promises to be even worse on tax policy. His only plus is that (so far) he hasn't committed a Nuremberg worthy war crime.

    Conservative (none / 0) (#64)
    by star on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:03:58 PM EST
    Than Bush? No i dont think so. He is neither a liberal nor a conservative.
    With regards to war crimes- I have not seen a big departure from Bush days. Gitmo is still out there, people are still held with out due process and drone attacks have increased under Obama . Tax structure is same as under bush. so what has really changed????still waiting to get out of the 'Bush years'.

    More conservative than Bush except (none / 0) (#66)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:06:50 PM EST
    on some social issues.
    The war crime Obama hasn't committed yet is starting a war of aggression.
    Passing the Dole/Gingrich corporate welfare plan for insurance does not count as liberal.

    name one (none / 0) (#68)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:07:10 PM EST
    Estate tax: under which President was it (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:08:49 PM EST
    lower? Which President is extending lower rates than his predecessor?
    Do your homework for the rest.

    was not aware (none / 0) (#70)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:09:49 PM EST
    the estate tax was a social issue.

    In the long run (none / 0) (#76)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:16:00 PM EST
    the Estate tax is a social issue.

    All taxes are really social issues (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:38:15 PM EST
    uh huh (none / 0) (#79)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:19:32 PM EST
    and the president (none / 0) (#80)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:20:01 PM EST
    is an Oligarch.

    And don't forget Capt (none / 0) (#84)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:31:04 PM EST
    That Obama's like Mubarak.

    I see things a bit different Star (none / 0) (#82)
    by Lacey on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:29:02 PM EST
    While one may have hoped for a president to come in and put in place a progressive agenda akin to FDR, I see a real-world view where a president came in with a second Great Depression staring him in the face, a country bogged down in two wars all the while facing an entrenched corporate-industrial-Wall Street machine and a political opposition that had gone so loopy they were crying communist and Nazi at every proposal. So I was hoping he would, at the very least, make sure the world didn't slide into a depression. That was helpful and pretty important. But you see, FDR came into power during the depression, so he could kick the fat cats around because the people were fed up. Obama prevented the depression but all he gets is progressives saying he's no better than GWB.

    "I see a real-world view" (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:52:13 PM EST
    Yes, you are the realist and everyone else is delusional.

    I dislike this type of argumentation.

    I state my point of view without claiming to be the "realist" in the discussion.

    Try to make your arguments on the substance without the self serving characterization that your view is the"pragmatic" one.

    See if it holds up on the merits without that.


    Compare and Contrast 1981 and 2011 (none / 0) (#83)
    by Dan the Man on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:29:55 PM EST
    1981:  Republicans have a 53-47 control of the Senate and control of the Presidency but Democrats control the House.

    Conclusion: Republicans slaughtered the Dems

    2011:  Democrats have a 53-47 control of the Senate and control of the Presidency but Republicans control the House.
    Conclusion: Republicans slaughtered the Dems


    In 2011, the repubs indeed slaughtered (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Buckeye on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:12:06 PM EST
    us, don't kid yourself.  The gain in the house and at the state level was the second largest in history of the Republican party.  The reason the Repubs did not win the White House was because Obama was not on the ballot (I realize the dynamics of the election changes when he is, but still, he was not on the ballot).  The Repubs did not win the Senate because of timing only (Dems did not have many seats up for election and of those that were, many were in deep blue states).  The Senate gets very difficult for the dems in 2012 and 2014.  If the slate of seats up for reelection in 2012 was in 2010 instead, the Repubs would easily have the Senate right now.

    2012 (none / 0) (#141)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:20:00 PM EST
    Dems have to keep 20 of 23 seats to maintain their majority. The Dems have two retirements in states that a) will probably flip (North Dakota), and b) could very well flip (Virginia).

    Republicans have to defend 8 (all which look pretty safe).  They have two retirements (Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Kyl, which also look pretty safe).

    The numbers don't look to be in the Dems favor - even if Obama wins re-election.  


    I wouldn't (none / 0) (#150)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:42:22 PM EST
    be so sure about AZ. It's not a reliably red state anymore and the GOP might just put up a nut in TX. I guess we'll have to see. VA is going to be tough along with ND.

    The narrative problems (none / 0) (#95)
    by lilburro on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:47:52 PM EST
    are not the fault of the Left IMO.  In all likelihood Dems would've lost seats and the narrative would've been "move to the center."  We could've lost just one seat and the narrative would've been like that.  It's always like that.  

    Bygones. Now the new scapegoat (none / 0) (#197)
    by Towanda on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 02:16:35 AM EST
    is the public-sector worker, the government employee.  Check back in on Wisconsin, which you posted about the other day.  It is getting worse there by the day -- more in the "budget repair bill" beyond any audacity of any pol yet.  There will be one public hearing on the bill, scheduled only today for tomorrow morning.  Vote is Thursday.

    And Wisconsin is only the opening salvo in the war that Club for Growth (the Kochs) is going to take nationwide.  Ed Schultz on MSNBC got it tonight, but no one is listening to him.  

    I also think, I also fear, that the violence will escalate, with more shootings of public workers.


    Wanted: Middle of the road solutions (none / 0) (#54)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:46:43 AM EST
    Some of us believe that the elections were less about spending than they were about persistent high unemployment, but whatever.

    I think the 2010 election was more about Democrats & Indies realizing that our Democratic leaders are just like the Republicans when it comes to the economy and protections for the middle class. Obama et. al. have shown they're willing to throw America's workers/taxpayers to the wolves in order to go down in history as the ones who finally gave us Universal Health Care, even though it's really just another wealth redistribution scheme via mandated health insurance.

    The Republicans enact policies that mostly benefit the rich, while the Democrats skew the system to support the very rich and the poor, including the deliberately impoverished, especially when helping the poor makes the rich richer. The past two years have made it clear that neither side is willing to support the middle class. Obama's presidential leadership has mostly supported the opposition's goals, not ours. There aren't enough tea partiers in the country to take over Congress, but Obama gave them a huge boost by discouraging Democratic and independent voters that would have kept our elected Democrats in Congress if they had been inspired to vote.

    In reality, the issue isn't "spend more or spend less," it's all about who gets the money. Welfare is a great idea until people choose to live off it instead of working. Nutritional programs are a great idea until welfare moms decide to have a bunch of  kids because each one gets them more public resources, while their baby daddies get away with fathering multiple kids that the public has to support while they spend their own money on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and nice cars. More and more taxpayers have turned to the Republicans and away from supporting what should have been good social programs because they're furious about being cheated. The right wing relies on this justifiable anger, while the left wing pretends it's all good and the majority of people on social service programs really do need to live off us because they can't take care of their own responsibilities. Meanwhile, the rest of us in the middle pay the price no matter who's in power, and we trudge along day after day toward ecological destruction and political chaos.  When will the left step out of it's naïveté long enough to actually create the Change we need?

    Hang on one hot second, please. (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:13:30 PM EST
    I see you've bought into the "oh, no, we can't have this program or that program because we might have to pay for someone who doesn't deserve it" school of government spending.  Yes, let's punish everyone to make sure no undeserving, lazy, drug-addled, good-for-nothing gets a dime of our honest, hard-earned, we-did-it-why-can't-they? tax dollars.

    Punish the kids who didn't ask to be born, but whose mothers couldn't have the choice to terminate the pregnancy because they didn't have the money and no federal dollars can pay for abortion.  I mean, if you're going to punish someone for being irresponsible, let's make sure it's really painful - that's the ticket.  Make sure you punish the kids, too.

    Punish the people who've been looking for work for going-on years now, who've lost their homes, can no longer collect unemployment, have nothing between them and the abyss, because there might be some people out there just taking advantage of all the wonderful benefits your tax dollars pay for.

    Yes, let's direct our fury at the poor and irresponsible cheaters, and forget about the tax dollars, tax breaks, sweetheart deals that have gone and continue to go to the Masters of the Universe in Corporate America, and let's pretend we don't see the blatant disregard they've had for what they've done to the economy, and let's not hold anyone in that universe accountable for their fraud and criminality, because, well, at least they have jobs and at least they pay taxes, right?

    I hope the depth of my anger for your comment is coming through, because much of what you wrote in your last paragraph has me seeing all kinds of red - and it has nothing to do with Valentine's Day, I can assure you.


    Punish the undeserving military empire (none / 0) (#100)
    by Coral on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:51:41 PM EST
    Let's bale out of Afghanistan, which is a total failure in policy.

    And get rid of the bloat caused by military bases, some quite luxurious, all over the globe.

    Could save hundreds of billions that way.

    I don't see one politician suggesting anything like this at all.


    Ron Paul (none / 0) (#160)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 02:27:42 PM EST
    I never forget about the Masters of the Universe (none / 0) (#166)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:15:23 PM EST
    and their death grip on our government. The problem is that the Repubs are controlled by them, but the Dems are controlled both by them and by naïve lefties. I'm all for social programs that support people in need, that provide a lift up, that fill in the gap when people have temporary problems, and that encourage people to re-contribute to our society. But let's get real. We've created massive social welfare programs that encourage intergenerational dependence. We have heat subsidy programs that are written by (and lobbied for) by the oil industry because they function to make the rich richer while avoiding those unfortunate stories about poor, elderly people freezing because they can't afford heat while rich oil barons fly to resorts in their private jets. Do you have any idea how much we spend now on HEAP? If we REALLY wanted to help people, we wouldn't just make working people pay exorbitant prices for heating for anyone who chooses not to work (or hides their income by working under the table, or hides the connection between their child(ren) and the father who should be supporting them, etc.). Instead, we'd spend our money on alternative heating solutions and improve our country's infrastructure while increasing jobs. We'd track down the dead beat dads whose kids we're constantly paying for, or maybe we'd create systems that bring people together in communities to raise children instead of just paying the rent for supposedly single moms who actually trick us into supporting their boyfriends/baby daddies as well.

    There are so many better solutions besides taking money from America's workforce and handing it to anyone who says they need it, regardless of reality. If it was just "some people" or "a few cheaters" I could live with all the abuse. But I know far too many people who tell their teenage girls to keep their baby so they can get their own Section 8 apartment. I see many, many young women dragging their multiple kids into social services offices, but they're picked up by guys outside driving $20-40,000 cars. I see women getting free childcare while living with fathers who are conveniently left off the birth certificate until the kids turn 18. I see many people receiving Social Security or Veterans disability, yet working under the table, which means they're stealing from those who are working and paying into the system now, but will not receive the retirement benefits they were promised.

    Sucking off the system and cheating are no longer rare, isolated events. Intergeneration welfare taught us that years ago. But you can't try to fix the problems without the left "seeing red" and calling you racist, classist, etc. After all, those crack moms DESERVE to keep having babies, right? Try offering free sterilization to someone who has had 2-3 crack babies and watch the left wing go crazy. "Genocide!"

    I actually agree with almost everything you post, Anne. But I'm down in the ditches with the actual people who abuse our social programs, from relatives to friends to neighbors to clients. Giving people the opportunity to live off the public, making it easy to cheat and making those who choose to be more responsible pay for it all DOES NOT WORK.


    tempted to (5.00 / 0) (#169)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:32:39 PM EST
    rate this a "1" although I do that rarely.  So much misinformation and flawed logic here I don't heve the faintest idea where to start.

    So I'm tempted to just rate this a "1".  Which I won't do.  

    Although I'm tempted.


    [seriously if this person is a "left" anything I think it might be a nut].  


    The argument (none / 0) (#173)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:41:22 PM EST
    he is making reminds me of the outcry from Republicans in the 1980s-early '90s about "welfare queens" which indirectly led to "welfare reform." The same kind of don't-take-my-money-for-those-people was stated, exaggerated. (You & I agree that this tempts a "1."  It is his opinion tho...one with which I strongly disagree.)

    Yes (none / 0) (#178)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:03:39 PM EST
    but as someone who has a friend who worked in social services, this does happen. The system is so complicated to keep people from "cheating" that a lot of people who really need help are left out and people who know how to "work the system" get help.

    I mean there's always going to be abuse. Don't you think the pentagon abuses our money too? Does that mean we have to get rid of the Pentagon? No, but maybe we should start getting rid of a lot of wasteful things but it seems that Obama and the GOP only want to get rid of useful things like Pell Grants that actually help people.

    And this type of thing really ratchets up when times are tough. When people have plenty they don't really care that much about some of these things but when they are doing without they are just looking for people who are "getting away with something".


    "Wasteful spending" (none / 0) (#189)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:07:38 PM EST
    'Agree that the concern becomes more pronounced when people feel threatened economically & otherwise. Also agree that the Pentagon needs the close look...the WH proposal proposes a good size starting cut.

    You know, the famous argument about what is "waste?" My 30 years federal govt work only allowed me to see the tip of how "we are going to root out waste" often works...from zero-based budgeting to reinvention. One takeaway lesson is similar to the tax-the-other-guy-for-what-I-don't-like-but-not-me approach we've all recognized lately. One decent indicator is that the WH proposal adds back increases on oil & gas industry, the well-known one for individuals above $200K, and other corporate taxes also. The use of these bargaining chips will be interesting to see in the coming days of positioning.


    indeed. (none / 0) (#179)
    by sj on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:03:51 PM EST
    I'm not disputing your anecdotal evidence - (5.00 / 2) (#177)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:57:45 PM EST
    we can all point to waste, fraud and abuse - but you seem to be ignoring that these programs also help those who aren't looking to get over on the government, but through another day, week or month.

    We have a lot of societal ills that we simply are not addressing: poverty, hunger, lack of education, health care, to name but a few - eliminating a safety net that supports people who often have gotten to where they are because of other government policies and practices or corporate actions that keep people them down and prevent them from succeeding is unconscionable to me.

    That we decry the greed of Wall Street and Corporate America while simultaneously desiring some of that action for ourselves, and distance ourselves from the great unwashed who are deemed not to deserve a decent standard of living if they are unable to attain it on their own - well, it's just sick.  We are divesting ourselves of all semblance of compassion because there's no visible, tangible monetary reward; it just makes me sad and angry.


    Sure, we should eliminate government policies (none / 0) (#187)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 05:41:28 PM EST
    and practices that force good people into poverty. But to take back our country, we need the cooperation of those who keep supporting the Republicans when our Democrats fail us. To get their cooperation, we need to stop supporting the perpetual welfare state. Helping people support themselves is vastly different from allowing people to suck off the public just because we want to be nice or we feel sorry for them. Our social systems end up backfiring because they're so rife with abuse that we can't even help many who need assistance. Worse, we're handing the right wing massive support by forcing taxpayers to support people undeserving of our help. By undeserving, I don't mean the kids who are born into poverty, I mean the guys who trick us into paying for their multiple offspring while they spend their own money on themselves. (Hint: it's no small pittance that's going to those good-for-nothings.)

    We need social programs that 1) give people a step up in life, not encourage them to be dependent forever, 2) reduce future impacts, and 3) triage benefits toward those who will reinvest in our communities.

    For example, I'd make college free by identifying best practices, mass producing educational materials and automating training and testing. I'd use the Internet and our public schools and colleges infrastructure to make higher education available to everyone, regardless of their age. I'd guarantee improved lives for those willing to work to better themselves, and I'd exclude those who refuse to cooperate. I'd also require huge community investment by the recipients. I'd do the same for childrearing. I'd offer free sterilization to drug addicts and alcoholics, and I'd create community childrearing centers and require deadbeat parents to earn the right to raise their kids. I'd provide training and support to those parents, but I'd triage by excluding those unwilling to cooperate. As much as I feel for the kids of lousy parents, we can't keep encouraging them to have more and more offspring. It's simply not sustainable.

    Changing the welfare entitlement mentality is something that should be done by the left wing, not the right. Unfortunately, it's very hard to discuss these issues with liberals because the right wing has attacked our programs for so long that lefties tend to have knee-jerk responses to criticism of them. But if we don't change them, we'll simply bounce back and forth between right wing and left wing leaders whose policies mostly serve the rich anyway.


    Scary comment of the day: (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:10:29 PM EST
    I'd offer free sterilization to drug addicts and alcoholics

    How generous of you. Especially since, as everyone knows, addicts never get clean. And more big brother government is just the remedy for what ails us.

    /yeah, snark.


    Having rescued many crack babies, (none / 0) (#204)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 07:31:42 PM EST
    quite a few of whom are the second, third and fourth addicted baby from the same inconsiderate mother, I'm pretty much done with hoping for the best and letting people work out their problems in their own time. But hey, a good liberal would NEVER try to infringe on the right of someone to create more screwed up children that could each cost the public hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime.

    This is exactly why the left wing will not ever be able to stop the proliferation of the welfare state: "She DESERVES to procreate, it's her RIGHT!" <cue whiny, liberal foot stomp>

    How about if we just continue right along the way we're going, never consider that it might help society if jerks weren't overpopulating the country (and world), and YOU pay for all the crack babies instead of dumping them on the rest of the taxpayers to deal with.


    you seem to have forgotten there is no welfare (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by Bornagaindem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:16:48 PM EST
    It does not exist for any one who has been on it for more than 5 years. And my in laws get $800 a month for social security - how are they supposed to live on that? Of course they have other retirement money but I certainly wouldn't begrudge them a job if they can do it. That is not cheating that is taking out your retirement when you are supposed to and working hard to boot.

    Not talking about regular Social Security (none / 0) (#205)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 07:38:50 PM EST
    but Social Security Disability. It's the new welfare. People are getting on it in droves, then working under the table.

    I don't (none / 0) (#181)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:08:36 PM EST
    know about your situation but the friends I have in social services says that the deadbeat dad thing goes nowhere. I worked with a lady who once she got a divorce, her ex decided to move to the beach and work for minimum wage therefore the money he paid was something like $20.00 a week and then he most times didn't even pay that. Other people have told me that when they do find the dads that they usually don't have any income so there's nothing to be gotten anyway.

    It's too late (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by esmense on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:23:31 PM EST
    to do anything about high unemployment. This is the house we spent 30 years building. And now we've got to live in it or burn it down.

    Do you really think the people who built this ediface for their own benefit are going to do anything to change it now? Why would they? If, in fact, they even knew how.

    The "average" American appears resentful -- but the resentment is mostly aimed at peers who are suspected of doing just a little bit better than oneself (who still hold faint hope of being able to negotiate for wages, health care, pensions, etc.), or the less fortunate who are resented for, apparently, even wishing to stay alive.



    Or do you disagree that Bush (none / 0) (#63)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:03:42 PM EST
    committed the chief war crime (per Nuremberg)?

    What if? (none / 0) (#72)
    by waldenpond on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 12:10:20 PM EST
    Obama is more conservative than Bush on foreighn policy so are you using a what if?  as in what if McCain, what if Palin?

    Obama isn't a tea partier on domestic issues but he is trying to outconservative your mainline conservative.

    I hope it is Obama's 1937 and it forces him not to (none / 0) (#190)
    by Bornagaindem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:09:37 PM EST
    run (as a democrat) in 2012. Only then do we have a chance of getting a real democrat to run things. Perhaps someone who will stand up and say we are tired of being given the runaround by the bankers and wall street. Maybe then americans will follow the Egyptian model and throw the bums out.

    The tea partyers are not my ideological brethren but I sure understand their motivation - get rid of the guys who have been using you and lying to you all these years and put in someone new. You have to applaud them and it should be what democratic progressives do.