"The Important Thing"

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner:

The hard thing is not to raise the debt limit, because Congress will always do that, and they recognize that. The hard thing is to try to take advantage of this moment, and get Republicans and Democrats to come together and lock in some reforms that will reduce our long-term deficits.

(Emphasis supplied.) No one ever wants to take "advantage of" a moment to help create jobs. In case you're wondering, Grover Norquist has won.

Speaking for me only

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    I know (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 07:57:31 AM EST
    and it's depressing.

    The Obama bipartisan solution will be reached (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 08:02:34 AM EST
    Which brings me to those calls for a bipartisan solution. Sorry to be cynical, but right now "bipartisan" is usually code for assembling some conservative Democrats and ultraconservative Republicans -- all of them with close ties to the wealthy, and many who are wealthy themselves -- and having them proclaim that low taxes on high incomes and drastic cuts in social insurance are the only possible solution. Krugman

    The Grover Norquist and Obama will win. People will lose.

    I think Dr Krugman may have his (none / 0) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:11:08 AM EST
    assessment (cf. cited NYT op ed) of the Heritage Foundation role backward when he notes that whenever there is something the G.O.P. does or does not like Heritage can be counted on to produce a report.  The media vaunted economic expert, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, seems to me to be a McCarthyite--Charlie to Heritage's Edgar Bergen. And, like this vaudeville team of yesteryear, the ventriloquism is made for radio.  

    What is there to say? (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 08:43:37 AM EST
    We will throw our whole selves into saving what remains of the existing structure...even if that kills us.  We have an economic cancer but all we can think about is our type 2 diabetes :)  Maybe the cancer will just go away on its own.

    Yup - with the diabetes treatment causing (none / 0) (#16)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:11:40 AM EST
    as much controversy as it is, no one wants to recommend the chemo for the cancer.

    Geithner also says that he's been (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:07:37 AM EST
    assured that Republicans will vote to raise the debt ceiling, so...if we know they're going to vote for it, Dems shouldn't have to give them anything in exchange, should they?  So if, instead of just presenting a clean bill, Dems present one that is loaded up with more cost-cutting, deficit-reducing measures to show how serious they are about this phony crisis, then Dems own whatever happens next, don't they?

    It means it's being done because Obama and the Dems want to do it.

    So, will that be the point where we can finally dispense with the idea that we have two political parties with opposing visions and philosophies and accept that we have one party operating at two speeds and headed in the same direction?

    Or, will Obama continue - after two-plus years of broken promises, blatant reversal of positions and gutless governance - to be able to sucker people into believing the nonsense he spouts in his wonderful speeches?

    Yeah - he probably will win again in 2012, but we will keep on losing.

    What a deal.

    IMO this has been true from day one (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:20:39 AM EST
    It means it's being done because Obama and the Dems want to do it.

    All else is smoke and mirrors.


    One solution (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:50:03 PM EST
    If Washington is seriously concerned about "Long Term Deficit Reduction" they should consider a tax that would be automatically implemented in the event of any military conflict that exceeds a specific time frame.

    It would serve two purposes;

    1. It would offset the cost of the military action

    2. It would make the hawks think twice before they started to rattle their sabers.

    What could we do with the trillion we've put on the credit card in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Fewer soldiers killed for millionaire (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 03:26:08 PM EST
    plots and schemes too when everyone gets a bill for military action.  Many people serving talk about the need for this too.  It is fine to have a professional military, but when there is no shared sacrifice in a war your professional military can easily be high jacked and sent off doing things that make the country less safe in the longrun and soldiers end up dying for things other than protecting their country.

    Digby at Hullabaloo and DDay at FDL... (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Romberry on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:50:19 AM EST
    ...were making the same point. Digby called her post "Kabuki for Dummies", and as Dayen wrote:

    "...any policy attached to the debt limit increase is now owned by President Obama and Tim Geithner. Republicans are going to raise the debt limit regardless: it's no longer credible, after this announcement, that the GOP "forced" the White House into any policy change. If your adversary just assured you that they will agree to your preferred clean bill, why would you accept anything else? The answer is clear: any policy other than a clean bill is one that's not only acceptable to the President, but affirmatively sought by him. ... The President will decide for himself what kind of policy he wants to include as a means of looking "serious" about the budget deficit. And he will affirmatively add that to the debt limit vote. He won't be forced into anything."

    My comment? Exactly so. Obama is what he appears to be. Even now, too many latch onto any statement he makes that sounds remotely like a Democrat and use it to rekindle their hope and belief in the idea of Obama. (I sure as heck wish that they'd accept the reality of Obama instead.)


    If Obama had any (none / 0) (#19)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:27:48 AM EST
    political guts or economic savvy he would demand the repeal, not just the raising, of the debt ceiling. It serves absolutely no purpose other than to give deficit hawks a phony bargaining chip.

    Then he could concede some ground to the GOP in the end by dropping the demand for repeal in exchange for raising the ceiling. He gets to look all bipartisan and reasonable while giving up nothing in return.

    Of course he will not do this, and more than likely will end up agreeing to further spending cuts in return for a raising of the ceiling. That's how he rolls.


    This isn't about guts or economic savvy, (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:51:31 AM EST
    it's about making the debt ceiling work for the agenda Obama's most comfortable with - that his big-money, corporate donors are most comfortable with - and that isn't an agenda that is going to protect the old, the poor and the sick.

    I do think Obama's still got this magical thinking thing going on, the one where either he's convinced or others have convinced him that, even though austerity isn't working anywhere else in the world, somehow, when it's Obama's policy, it will.

    They are doing what they're doing because that's what they want to do; there just is no other, credible conclusion to be reached.  The people advising Obama know what they could do, the Dems in Congress know what they could do - they have legions of staffers who game these things, who know what the options are - but they aren't doing it.  It's not that they can't, or that they aren't courageous enough, or strong-willed enough, or smart enough: it's that they don't want to do it.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#31)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:44:12 AM EST
    but with advisers like Geithner there's little chance of him doing the right thing on the economy even if he genuinely wanted to.

    Baloney (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by sj on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:45:54 AM EST
    He chose those advisors.

    I think he chose them (none / 0) (#47)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:13:32 PM EST
    because he thought they would give him good advice on the economy. So in that respect I think Obama wants to do the right thing.

    Of course politicians have a knack of always turning, in their minds, the thing that suits their political fortunes best into the 'right thing'.


    Yup (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:00:23 AM EST
    We don't stand a chance of even  being able to break even at some point with Obama at the helm :)

    Economic suicide (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:24:01 AM EST
    Maybe the powers that be in Washington should look across the ocean to Great Britain. They took the austerity path. Now they're seeing  retail sales having the largest decline in 15 years. Household incomes have fallen 2% and the prospects are looking even worse down the road.

    I'm no economist, but it doesn't take Albert Einstein to figure out that if there are no jobs and salaries are depressed, the economy can't rebound.

    Corporations are awash in money. Bonuses and executive pays are still rising. Corporations don't need anymore tax breaks. The concept of additional cuts adding jobs is a complete farce.

    The trickle economy doesn't trickle. It never did and it never will. Ever since our politicians bought into this scam, the only ones that have benefited are the wealthy.

    Wages have not been pushed down far (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:34:23 AM EST
    enough, unions have not been completely eliminated, taxes and regulations on corporation have not yet been eliminated. Can't stop until goals are met.

    There is no such thing as being too rich or too greedy as far as the powers that be are concerned.


    Deficit hawks will just conclude (none / 0) (#21)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:32:45 AM EST
    that the UK didn't apply enough austerity, or that they failed to include a tax cut, or some such other nonsense to fit the results into their theory. They won't change. The only hope for us is to get rid of deficit hawks from government and academia. The current crop will never change their minds, ever. Unfortunately, this process will take time, and we'll probably have to endure a couple more recessions first.

    There weren't enough free market (none / 0) (#24)
    by observed on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:38:10 AM EST
    reforms. The country is too socialist, still.

    Isn't the timing on this convenient for (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:34:57 AM EST
    the deficit hawks?

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Service downgraded its outlook Monday on the United States' sovereign debt, expressing unprecedented doubts over the ability of Washington to bring the massive federal budget deficits under control in the next three years. link

    In case you have forgotten, this is the same S&P who:

    "Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's adjusted the way they graded securities after Goldman Sachs Group Inc., UBS AG and at least six more banks pressured them, according to a U.S. Senate report. The world's two largest bond-ranking companies, both based in New York, made exceptions to rules when bankers asked for better safety ratings on complex mortgage-backed securities. When Moody's and S&P changed their assessments of hundreds of those bonds in July 2007, it helped trigger the financial crisis, the panel said.

    "'The ratings agencies weakened their standards as each competed to provide the most favorable rating to win business and greater market share,' according to the report. 'The result was a race to the bottom.' In a televised hearing last year, lawmakers compared Goldman Sachs bankers to bookies and subcommittee Chairman Carl M. Levin grilled them about marketing securities. Levin's committee wants regulators to eliminate rules shielding Moody's and S&P from being sued over flawed ratings and publish accuracy rankings for the companies. link

    Rating agencies (none / 0) (#30)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:39:26 AM EST
    are worse than useless and should be completely ignored, as your post clearly shows.

    S&P will not be ignored (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:20:09 PM EST
    as Sen. Dick Durbin put it,

    the banks . . . are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.

    the U.S. Government is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street, & Wall Street demands austerity

    do you not understand this?


    Unfortunately, I do not think that S&P (none / 0) (#38)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:30:21 PM EST
    will be ignored. This will be used to justify drastically reducing or eliminating needed domestic programs as well as cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.  

    Clearly, when the S & P talks, people (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:49:22 PM EST
    listen; makes one wonder where we'd be if they'd been honestly rating even 5 years ago, doesn't it?

    Given their essential dishonesty, being almost completely funded by the financial industry, I have no idea why anyone outsode of the industry accepts what they say without question.

    Well, except for the part where it dovetails so nicely with their plans for the rest of us.

    I am not in a good mood today.


    Sorry I didn't know the real reason (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 05:38:54 PM EST
    behind your bad mood today. I am sorry to hear about your loss. It is always hard to lose one of our long time animal friends.

    I'm not in a good mood either (none / 0) (#43)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:54:10 PM EST
    It has been like a watching some type of nightmare game except it is real. All the pieces are being moved into place to implement plans for the rest of us.

    I'm very sorry for your loss (none / 0) (#46)
    by sj on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:03:43 PM EST
    I know how hard it is.

    Thank you - I love having these pets - (none / 0) (#49)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 05:43:28 PM EST
    we have two other cats, and two dogs, and this day is coming for all of them - and it just kills me.

    We've been through it with three other dogs, and if anything, it just gets harder.

    I know having the cat put down is the right thing to do, and I accept that responsibility, but it doesn't make it any easier.

    He's lived a long and happy life, able to be exactly who he is, and that's more than many animals ever get.

    Ugh. I just hate this; I'll be fine, but it's just been a hard day, thinking about it.


    No it never does (none / 0) (#50)
    by sj on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:43:00 AM EST
    get easier.  Take care of yourself, and I know I don't need to tell you, but give your other pets some extra love.  It will comfort you and them.  They grieve, too.

    My heart goes out to you (none / 0) (#51)
    by nycstray on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:41:34 AM EST
    Losing a pet sucks. It hurts like Hell when they leave us.

    He'll be in your heart forever, cherish that and remember him kindly (as I know you will). My thoughts are with you . . .


    I'm sorry you lost your friend Anne (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 06:58:04 AM EST
    I was surprised by how much losing Tyler affected me.  I have not taken on another cat yet. He needed me so much less than the dogs do.  He was like having a fairly responsible teenager around who messed up the bathroom sometimes.  I still miss him.

    Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts. (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Anne on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 09:39:06 AM EST
    I really thought I was okay -  but when I called the vet yesterday morning, and started to explain why I was calling, all of a sudden, I could barely talk.  And that sort of opened the floodgates - not that I was crying all day, but the tears and the emotion were just right there.

    When we arrived for our appointment, the vet met with us first, and looked the cat over, asked if we wanted him to run any tests or see if they could figure out what was going on - and we absolutely would have done that if he were 10, or 12 or even 15 - but he was probably 18, and I knew that no matter what we did, it wasn't going to be long before we were right back there, maybe in weeks, maybe in a month, and I just didn't want to put him through that.  After we talked to him, the vet said he felt tike that was the right decision - which helped a lot with the inevitable second-guessing.

    It was a peaceful death - I don't think it took more than 30 seconds - and we took him home and buried him under the trees in a little copse next to the house that has become the family pet cemetery.

    He's in good company, and free to be the cat he was in his prime; that makes me smile.


    Eric Cantor (none / 0) (#41)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:20:37 PM EST
    is on it.

    As S&P made clear, getting spending and our deficit under control can no longer be put off for another day, which is why House Republicans will only move forward on the President's request to increase the debt limit if it is accompanied by serious reforms that immediately reduce federal spending and end the culture of debt in Washington."



    I predict "caps" (none / 0) (#44)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:54:55 PM EST
    Obama (1.00 / 2) (#28)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:31:02 AM EST
    's agenda is about giving money to the rich and making himself billions and stealing from the poor and hurting the weak and stomping on the uneducated and eating little kittens and  (. . . hold on a second, got to adjust the tinfoil hat . . .) and taking away a woman's right to choose and fulfilling the conservative agenda and . . . making more millionaires and killing the environment and destroying gay rights and waging as many wars as he can possibly wage and  . . .

    So far I don't think he has been (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:56:27 AM EST
    eating any kittens. You did have stop and put on you tin foil hat for that one.

    Can I have link (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by sj on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:58:48 AM EST
    to eating the kittens?  I think I can find documentation for the rest of that.

    Off topic don't you think? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:50:31 AM EST
    Did you see Greenspan say the (none / 0) (#2)
    by Buckeye on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 07:58:36 AM EST
    Bush tax cuts need to be eliminated (all of them),

    What did he say when he was (none / 0) (#6)
    by observed on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 08:59:02 AM EST
    Fed chair? I don't actually recall, but I don't remember him inveighing against the Bush tax cuts.

    Actually (none / 0) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:05:11 AM EST
    he was all for them at the beginning and then near the end of Bush's term decided he was against them.

    I do recall Greenspan inveighing against the (none / 0) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:15:49 AM EST
    Clinton surpluses.

    Of course, because that made his (none / 0) (#13)
    by observed on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:49:45 AM EST
    30 year, multi-trillion dollar heist harder to pull off.

    Citizens well being negotiated away (none / 0) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 08:43:03 AM EST
    Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate's Gang of Six budget negotiators, said that Social Security reform "remains on the table." Though Social Security doesn't actually contribute to deficit spending, its inclusion "appears to be a concession by Democrats made in exchange for agreement to raise some revenue by Republicans." link

    The NYT editorial (Monday, April 18) (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:41:15 AM EST
    presents its view of the Republican plan to dismantle the social compact and to "liberate business and the rich from the inconveniences of oversight and taxes."   When the editorial points out the various efforts to send adrift the elderly and poor in accord with Paul Ryan's bill as passed by the Republican House, it notes that it "would have been unimaginable just eight years ago to a Republican party that added a prescription benefit to Medicare."

    Here we have the unimaginable plan to dismantle Medicare in the legislative pipeline when the Republicans control just the House, but when Democrats held both the Senate, House and Presidency, Medicare for all was not imaginable, not was its comparatively weak sidekick, a public option.


    IMO the goals of both parties are the same (none / 0) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:57:36 AM EST
    The main difference is in the approach. The Medicare caps established in legislation already signed and the caps proposed in McCaskill/Corker will dismantle all safety net programs without holding individual members of Congress responsible for the results.

    IOW, ten years from now (or sooner) when the caps force drastic cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, the current occupant in the WH and Congressional members of Congress can say that they were powerless to do anything about it because the law (caps) required the action.

    IMO initial steps will be taken now to weaken the programs and make them less desirable to people in the middle and upper class.


    You're right, but (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by NYShooter on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:52:42 AM EST
    "..........goals of both parties are the same."
    The curtain didn't come completely off the Democratic "dirty little secret" until Obama's election. You can't deny that Democrats proposed and implemented some pretty good legislation in past years, and one could truthfully point to substantial difference in the Parties.

    We got a pretty good hint after the '06 election, but it took Obama to morph the two parties into one.


    Perhaps we should start lobbying for legalized (none / 0) (#17)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:21:35 AM EST
    euthanasia . . .  

    I know I said it before (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by sj on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:17:03 AM EST
    I hate these people. Even though it's emotionally exhausting to keep a good hate on.  I hate these people.

    Curious (none / 0) (#20)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:29:05 AM EST

    No one ever wants to take "advantage of" a moment to help create jobs.

    The best way to increase government revenue is increasing the number of wealth producing jobs.  Unfortunately, this administration seems to be doing the opposite witness new restrictions on oil, gas, and coal production.

    This admin has no clue (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by star on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:37:46 AM EST
    what to do. Nor do they want to do anything with the attempt to make things better . it is all politics and how much they can take "advantage" of situations , to make it better for O's reelection (no more about Dem party or down ticket elections) and how happy they can keep their cronies..

    How quick we forget (none / 0) (#32)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:45:38 AM EST
    Maybe Democrats need go through the media archives from the Bush administration. I'm sure they could find a tape of Dick Cheney scoffing at the deficit. After all, we were told that deficits didn't matter. Just go shopping and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    The same Republicans that destroyed the economy are now being allowed to tell us how to fix it. What a wacky world.