How The Deal Led Us To Norquist's Victory On The Deficit

Paul Krugman:

When I listen to current discussions of the federal budget, the message I hear sounds like this: We’re in crisis! We must take drastic action immediately! And we must keep taxes low, if not actually cut them further! You have to wonder: If things are that serious, shouldn’t we be raising taxes, not cutting them?

It's amazing how no one was worried about the budget deficit in December 2010, including President Obama, when The Deal was struck. Krugman writes:

[T]he only major budget proposal out there offering a plausible path to balancing the budget is the one that includes significant tax increases: the “People’s Budget” from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which — unlike the Ryan plan, which was just right-wing orthodoxy with an added dose of magical thinking — is genuinely courageous because it calls for shared sacrifice.

[. . .] But if the progressive proposal has all these virtues, why isn’t it getting anywhere near as much attention as the much less serious Ryan proposal? It’s true that it has no chance of becoming law anytime soon. But that’s equally true of the Ryan proposal.

The answer, I’m sorry to say, is the insincerity of many if not most self-proclaimed deficit hawks. To the extent that they care about the deficit at all, it takes second place to their desire to do precisely what the People’s Budget avoids doing, namely, tear up our current social contract, turning the clock back 80 years under the guise of necessity. They don’t want to be told that such a radical turn to the right is not, in fact, necessary.

(Emphasis supplied.) Grover Norquist has won. And he won in December, when The Deal was struck.

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    I've been thinking (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 08:22:30 AM EST
    about this and how the GOP always compares household budgets to the federal budget. Well, my thought is that if you run up your credit cards, you can only cut spending so much before you are going to have increase your income by taking on a second job.

    The GOP isn't even serious about cutting spending because if they were the bloated Pentagon budget would be on the chopping block and it isn't.

    And where were they when George W. Bush was running up huge deficits? They were cheering him on.

    They just want to cut spending on things they don't like and they aren't serious about any of this.

    They rubber stamped every deficit (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 08:38:43 AM EST
    that GWB sent them.  They sent pallets of plastic wrapped cash to Iraq, where much of it just up and disappeared.  They were insane like none of us had ever seen insanity, and now Grandma is a leech.

    Of all the ways in which the (5.00 / 10) (#5)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:11:20 AM EST
    deficit hysterics are manipulating the American public, one of the most insidious is the way in which they compare the US budget to the household budget; that comparison is made because it's simple, the average person can relate to it - but it's also wrong: it's a completely apples-and-oranges argument.  

    The debt ceiling is a self-imposed and downright antiquated constraint that is, in light of our sovereignty in our own currency and the validity of our debt that is constitutionally mandated, nothing more than a political tool that is being used not to put us on a better economic path, but to weaken, if not destroy, the social safety net, and insure that the middle- and working-classes be more beholden to the elite for their survival.

    I beg of you, please don't perpetuate the US-budget-as-household-budget lie, no matter how tempting it is.

    Of course we need more revenue, and raising taxes is one way to do it - but that's not the only answer.  We need to put people back to work, and that's one area where the government can and should spend to create programs that will do just that.  The more people working, the more revenue is coming in to the government and to entitlement programs.  People who have jobs spend money in their communities - this creates more demand, and spurs employers to hire to meet that demand.

    The spiral moves up, not down, and as it does so, the government can reduce its spending.

    The path both Republicans and Democrats are on will not reverse that spiral; at this point, it's only a question of which party is going to get us to the gates of economic hell sooner.


    If you do not like household budget comparisons (2.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:08:43 AM EST
    let us make company or business budget comparisons (of course companies cannot print money, however there are too many problems associated with going the printing money route, so let us keep that part out from discussions). I have seen too many companies going belly up and having to shutter up or lay off vast portions of their workforce for piling on debts while trying to "grow" the business (which includes hiring of people).
    I have said repeatedly that we will have to increase revenues collected by taxing people in highest income brackets more and make targetted investments in infrastructure development and maintainence. However, this talk of debts and deficits not mattering at all is a complete non starter to me.

    Now you've confused me (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by sj on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:14:15 AM EST
    You want to compare government to a company?  Did I read you right?  

    You agree to discard one inaccurate comparison (compare to home budget), but only if you stipulate another inaccurate comparison (compare to business)?

    And in the process, you want to remove from the equation a major tool in the government's toolkit (sovereignity in our currency) because it's complicated.

    Is that what you're saying?


    Even if : (none / 0) (#35)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:05:32 PM EST
    You use a business scenario the end result normally ends in disaster.

    You cut operating expenses(payroll) then you cut you open to buy(inventory) Results are normally the next quarter sales as well as profits will be down because of lack of qualified personnel and new product.

    This scenario then snowballs into more cuts, less inventory and finally the going out of business sign.

    When business is bad it's even more vital to pump life into it, not suffocates it.


    The devil is in the detail (none / 0) (#60)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:56:33 PM EST
    with regards to where you cut and where you spend. You do your best to cut expenses while retaining people. However, this idea that you can spend your way out of a recssion because debts and deficits do not matter is a total non starter to me.
    Good and progressive companies do things more imaginatively during a business downturn-it is usually a mixture of spending and cuts. Maybe get top management to take paycuts, trim non-essential expenses, increase R&D spending to develop technology that creates new demands, find new markets, etc.

    You can't (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:06:16 PM EST
    spend your way out of a recession, but the government can.

    BINGO (none / 0) (#138)
    by PatHat on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:27:15 AM EST
    The government can, and should, spend its way out of a recession. It can, and should, create jobs since the cost will be partially funded by less spending on unemployment and safety net programs, and because all of that money will be spent buying things! And the problem with the economy right now is DEMAND.

    Wouldn't it be more educational, (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:27:27 PM EST
    and ultimately more useful, to just describe it as it is, and not by comparison to things to which it really cannot be compared without people coming away with a misunderstanding of what it is?

    I know it's a radical idea, but the sooner we try to come to grips with it, the better.


    Company or business (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:03:26 PM EST
    comparisons are just as invalid, for the very reason you mention, i.e. companies and businesses cannot create their own money.

    This talk of debt and deficits not mattering isn't quite accurate. Debts and deficits can matter, but they do not matter right now because the economy is in the dumpster.

    You should try understanding all this talk about debts and deficits before pronouncing it a non-starter.


    Government is not (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 01:58:35 AM EST
    a business and any comparisons are ridiculous.

    Government is far more complicated than business, has different goals and different set of responsibilities.

    The are crucial circumstances that require significant deficit spending to ameliorate wide spread societal problems.

    We spent DOUBLE our revenue during World War II when we faced a probable existential threat.  Today we face deeply serious short and long term economic problems that can only be solved with heavy, targeted spending just as in time of war.  Our future is at stake.

    In lieu of the political ability to raise taxes and cut profligate military spending deficits are necessary for the present and to insure that we don't 'lose' the future.

    Whether a non-starter for you is of no importance.


    Comparing the government budget (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:17:23 AM EST
    to a household budget packs a ton of emotion too.  The government wastes our money while we suffer is what it inspires, a very gut wrenching knee jerk reaction that leads to lizard brain and the rest of the brain turns off when lizard is on.  Makes it very hard to talk about what job creation will require other than a little blurb about cutting taxes for the millionaires so they'll hopefully toss us a crumb someday.  They are our only hope at this time though in any of the ongoing conversations.

    Trouble is, (5.00 / 2) (#118)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:04:25 AM EST
    failure to raise taxes on the very rich only allows their surplus cash to flee the country looking for the highest return.  Much higher taxes will keep that money in the US at least for awhile.

    Well (none / 0) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:38:26 AM EST
    it seems that no one in Washington is willing to do anything about jobs. It's more along the lines of "no, we can't".

    Maybe (none / 0) (#31)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:34:56 AM EST
    a better way to put it is that the Ryan budget wants us to take expensive vacations while doing without seeing the doctor or having food to eat.

    There are ways that you can use their own words against them.


    No, I'm sorry, but I think the more (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:34:31 PM EST
    we try to play the game with their words, the more it validates their manipulation of the truth - instead of getting out the word that the government is not like a household budget, all we end up doing is playing the "there are two ways to look at it and ours is the right way" game and that's a loser.  We're in that awful land where we become a "side" instead of making it about the facts.

    It's not about different ways of looking at it - it's about the structure of the government's monetary system, what it means to be sovereign in our currency and how the Constitution mandates that there shall be no question of the validity of our debt.  Not enough people understand this, no one in positions of power in the Congress or in the WH is bothering to explain it, the media is doing its usual stenographic read-back of whatever is said to them - and honestly, I think anyone holding elected national office who doesn't understand how our system works should not be allowed to make any decisions about matters of budget or spending - which means they probably shouldn't even be allowed to hold office.  They don't let people who get their medical knowledge from ER and Grey's Anatomy practice medicine - why should we hold people aspiring to or holding elective office off the hook for what they don't know?

    I don't expect we will ever make much of a dent in the depth of knowledge people have about how our financial/monetary system really works, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try - maybe some will go do some of their own research and start asking more questions.


    We have what Obama wanted (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:44:59 AM EST
    A smart Democratic president would have continued to nail the Republicans on the economy from day one.

    Much of Obama election success came because the economy tanked before GWB was out of the WH. They knew the economy was collapsing but Republicans had hopes that it would hold up until after the election. It didn't.

    Instead we got a president who insisted on a bipartsan presidency. He annointed the very people that brought the economy to it's knees to be it's "savior".

    Politics is a dirty business. Republicans were down and out. Public support was gone for them. Obama could have had the economic plan he wanted. I don't think there's much doubt as to what side of the fence he's sitting on.


    I agree (5.00 / 5) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:40:44 AM EST
    I have come to agree with this way of thinking. Obama actually agrees with the GOP on policy. Once you reach this realization then things finally make sense.

    Obama is a supply sider and all this stuff about raising taxes on the wealthy every time an election rolls around is just playing people for a bunch of chumps.


    The Republicans were down and out (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by hairspray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 03:41:46 PM EST
    and public support was gone. Obama didn't really know what to do so he asked them what to do. This is what happens when the only thing O knew was community organizing. Once again the lack of serious experience came out which was always the knock on him.  My son-in-law met him at a high priced lunch is SF last week.  He said he was a very genuine man who seems to want to do the right think but son said he seemed so detached.

    "he seemed so detached" (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by sj on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:07:12 PM EST
    During the election that quality was often referred to as "preternaturally calm".  It's not new.

    To me it always sounded like he had no skin in the game.  He was always with the mushy stuff spouted by those with no passion.

    Except when it came to PPUS.  Then he became animated.  

    Oh, also when he was scolding us.  He was pretty animated then, too.


    And when HRC ran (none / 0) (#113)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:46:30 PM EST
    as an incumbent who shipped the industrial base off to the third world  in trade for the TBTF financial services how did that sound?
    Skin in the game... Grow up.

    I thought (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:11:22 AM EST
    we were talking about Obama.

    She never ran as ... (5.00 / 2) (#134)
    by Yman on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:19:27 AM EST
    ... "an incumbent who shipped the industrial base off to the third world  in trade for the TBTF financial services".  

    Fairytales can be entertaining, but not so much when coming from someone advising others to "grow up".


    Rojas, it does not matter (none / 0) (#114)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:52:37 PM EST
    She donned red boxing gloves. See link

    Guess it shows that unions ... (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Yman on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:16:15 AM EST
    ... prefer fighters to "community organizers".  Or, they were just smart enough to realize that Obama was lying to them.

    Either way, ... not much of a surprise.


    What on earth (none / 0) (#121)
    by sj on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:26:14 AM EST
    does HRC have to do with Obama's demeanor?  I think you need to grow up.  Also learn how to read.

    For a few people ... (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Yman on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:10:16 AM EST
    ... it's always about the Clintons.

    Funny and sad at the same time ...


    yes (none / 0) (#110)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 08:52:40 PM EST
    Obama is very intelligent but after more than 2 years he has not demonstrated that he is up to the job of being president

    he has the leadership skills and the mind-set to be a community organizer & that in itself is a very admirable set of qualities

    but the presidency requires a different skill set & a different mind-set

    to the country's great detriment, Obama is wrong for the job

    it's also true that any Republican would be worse


    You mean you would not go (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:49:11 AM EST
    and demand a pay cut to force you back in your budget?

    I always think about that too. It is just absurd.


    ordinary people take on big debt (5.00 / 5) (#90)
    by desmoinesdem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:20:02 PM EST
    all the time. They borrow to buy a house, they borrow to start or expand a business. This myth that ordinary Americans balance their budgets and never take on debt is ridiculous.

    Hmm...good points. (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by masslib on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:31:13 AM EST
    I would say they are serious about this in that this isn't just about cutting programs they don't like, Ryan's proposal is about taking us back 100 years in time, and literally making as if the New Deal never happened.

    Did Norquist win in December, 2010 (5.00 / 7) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 08:30:28 AM EST
    or did he win when a candidate who campaigned on putting Social Security on table won the Democratic primary and the general election?

    The WH and the Republicans (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 08:45:36 AM EST
    pursuing the same end game and the only difference is how you get there.

    I guess there just isn't enough hysteria about the deficit out there among the young, so the White House is trying to gin some up:

    [T]he interests and concerns of the young don't always dovetail easily with the realities of governance -- as evidenced by Obama's Facebook town hall this week. The earnest fun of social media comes to a screeching and deadly halt when the conversation turns to Medicare.

    At the same time, the issues that younger voters are concerned about -- jobs, student loans, gas prices, the environment -- fall on the well-it's-complicated side of the Obama achievement ledger. There's not much good news there. So what to talk about with the kids?

    "The White House continued its efforts to stimulate conversation among young Americans regarding President Barack Obama's plan for deficit reduction in a conference call Thursday," reports The Maneater, University of Missouri's student newspaper. link

    What someone should be telling the kids (5.00 / 8) (#7)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:24:00 AM EST
    is that in an environment where it's increasingly difficult for college graduates to get well-paying jobs in their chosen field, the economic policies of austerity are making it more - not less - likely that not only will it continue to be hard for them to afford to pay off loans, live independently, buy homes, raise families, but the weaker the social safety net gets, the more likely that rather than being "burdened" with US debt - which is just a big fat lie - they are going to be facing the "burden" of assisting their parents as they age.

    The whole thing just makes me so mad I could spit.


    The Obama (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:36:25 AM EST
    campaign is horrible at communication and not only that they think that they can just sing hope and change again.

    Well, Obama has a RECORD this time and nobody's buying the hope and change in '12.

    Obama's reelection strategy tends to be 'the GOP is crazy'. Heck, yeah, the GOP is crazy but if they're so crazing then why is Obama worshiping at the altar of bipartisanship? He undercuts his whole argument.


    I tell my wife to expect our son... (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Dadler on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:16:22 PM EST
    ...to be living with us WELL after we thought he'd be.  I think a lot of kids today are going to end up like that.  

    I think he's trying to repeat the past (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by Madeline on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:24:39 PM EST
    with the youth vote and expecting that he will have them again as in the primary election. You notice that he has not reached out to the base; progressives, seniors, minorities, working Americans.

    He's playing it safe, as he always does, hoping the youth vote will energize his campaign.


    Vote (none / 0) (#139)
    by PatHat on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:30:57 AM EST
    If the 18-25 year olds actually voted in their best interests, things would be different.

    the depressing part about htis (none / 0) (#15)
    by CST on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:09:59 AM EST
    is that it may be effective politics.

    Because as digby said "After all, the Republicans have a 30 year head start on the propaganda" with all the deficit/debt histeria.

    However, for the older-younger voters, that is countered with a memory of Clinton = good, Bush = bad.  So the democratic case can be made, you just have to make it.

    Obama right now doesn't have much of an economic record to run on.  If I were him I would try to make this as much about social issues as possible.  At least with the younger voters.  It's the one clear advantage he has.


    IMO Obama is putting the emphasis (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:32:13 AM EST
    exactly where he wants it to be. He has continued to repeat and reinforce the same deficit/debt hysteria. Obama has personally stated that jobs will not be able to be created until the deficit is under control. He does not want to make this about social issues since that would defeat the effort to reduce and eliminate domestic programs.

    "At the beginning of your term you spent a lot of time talking about job creation and the road to economic recovery," the questioner told the president. "Since then, we've seen the conversation shift from that of job creation and economic recovery to that of spending cuts and the deficit."

    "I would love to know your thoughts on how you're going to balance these two going forward, or even potentially shift the conversation back," she added.

    Obama said that unless lawmakers get the country's long-term finances under control, more immediate economic gains could prove difficult.

    "If we don't have a serious plan to tackle the debt and the deficit, that could actually end up being a bigger drag on the economy than anything else," Obama said. link

    Response to Obama's answer (none / 0) (#120)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:19:44 AM EST

    Social issues? (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:34:21 AM EST
    Mr. Cat Food Commission's gonna be able to make a good case on social issues?



    I'm sorry, but the idea that Obama's got some great social issues record to run on just made me laugh out loud.  True, he's not as nutty as the GOP, but that's not saying much.

    He should run on national security/war/no accountability for breaking the law/more secrecy, not less/the war on drugs/erode privacy and civil rights and the Fourth Amendment - but that would mean he'd be appealing to Republicans.

    Oh, well.


    He won't change strategy (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:03:25 AM EST
    I'm convinced that Obama and Axlerod firmly believe that they owe their success to their Republican supporters. Obama won the primaries in most of the Republican states. Without those wins, he wouldn't be president today.

    His references to the greatness of Reagan and his campaigning with anti gay ministers around the country were all designed for the Republican audience.

    He didn't exactly fight against the CA anti gay referendum even though he had the state sewed up in the election. It might have cost him nationally with the Republican support he covetted.

    This will be the same strategy he'll use in 2012. The difference may be that he'll find a very lukewarm base rather that his rock star crowd he enjoyed in 2008.



    They remind me of this Peter Cook/Dudley Moore (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:12:32 PM EST

    Dudley Moore: Yes, indeed. Do you feel you've learnt by your mistakes here?

    Peter Cook: I think I have, yes, and I think I can probably repeat them almost perfectly. I know my mistakes inside out.

    YouTube Link


    Obama won his primaries in (none / 0) (#89)
    by hairspray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:12:35 PM EST
    GOP states with Democratic caucuses.  He didn't win cross over Republican voters in more than 2-3 states. The caucuses in the Red states (Alaska, Nebraska, Kansas, etc) then went to McCain.

    My point exactly (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 06:55:32 PM EST
    Without those Red State primaries he wouldn't have been the nominee

    yup (2.00 / 1) (#22)
    by CST on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:47:23 AM EST
    "cat food commission" is an economic issue not a "social" issue.  And absolutely nothing has come of it.

    The "women" issue is something I have never heard outside of TL.  He has appointed a lot of females to very high levels.  Most people do not scrutinize ulterior motives (11th dimensional chess much?) that hard.

    DADT - whether he did the legwork or not, he will get credit for this.  Backing off of DOMA at the same time will also be a plus.

    The planned parenthood attack/save went over well among younger voters (big facebook issue), females especially, but also men who, trust me - don't want their girlfriends getting pregnant either, and are well aware of where they go to take care of that.

    Bottom line though, the nutty GOP is the nutty GOP.  A few lines in the sand like the ones on the above issues are going to be more effective than any economic argument he tries to make right now since the results aren't there.


    It's very weak, in my opinion, (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:19:17 AM EST
    and among women I know - in a range from twenty-somethings, like my daughters and their peers, to my age group and above, the women-as-bargaining-chip tendency has not gone unnoticed - nor has it been greeted with support.

    And while the Deficit Commission and all the debt/deficit hysteria have an economic focus, there is clearly a social impact associated with some of the proposals and ideas being floated, not the least of which is that changes to entitlements are certain to negatively affect the quality of people's lives, and that, in itself, tells us something about the level of respect accorded to what are essentially the old, the poor and the sick.

    I know he will take credit for things he was, on balance, rather tepidly in support of, and I would rather have the changes that are taking place than not, but I'm not sure he will necessarily be able to completely control the narrative on this.


    You do realize that women will be impacted (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:53:29 AM EST
    than men when they tamper with MC and SS, don't you?

    More women than men (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:23:24 PM EST
    will be impacted with loss of jobs/pay freezes in the public sector.
    Tampering with MC and SS will also affect women more than men. Owing to humanitarian and social justice considerations,IMO, the administration should not tamper with MC and SS. However, from a purely electoral strategy standpoint (which should obviously not be the sole focus), it is not clear how much Obama (maybe, not other Democrats) can gain among the 65+ demographics, even by protecting them from Republican policies. The majority among the 65+ demographics just do not like the President, they will not vote for him irrespective of what he does for them. The President will need strong support from women to get reelected, however most of those votes will come from younger women (IMO).



    the 65+ crowd won't be touched (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:39:50 PM EST
    just 55 and under. The second half of the boomers will be truly scr*wed.

    And with more men (88% iirc) being rehired over women . . . . .


    It is crazy (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:04:46 PM EST
    to think that the 65+ crowd will not get affected by Paul Ryan's plan.
    However, all this will matter only if Paul Ryan has his way. His plan will not go anywhere.

    The bottom line is that (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:43:41 PM EST
    MOST of us 65 or older (I just turned 65) DO INDEED care about out children, our grandchildren, and their children, etc etc etc.  We DO CARE about younger friends and siblings.

    The notion that seniors are all self centered and selfish is nonsense. Yes, there are some like that and most of them live in RED states and have never voted anything but republican.  
    They are the tea party type but MOST of us are not like that.  Remember, the first wave of boomers, now 55 to 65 years old were the FREEDOM RIDERS, did much of the protesting in the 60s.  Yes, we had peers name Bush, and Rove, and even Cheney.  But we also had people like Woody Guthrie. Joan Baez, Dylan.  We had poets and even priests, we had singers and professors and writers who believed in "change" back then and worked for it.  Most of us who were DFH back then have not turned into self centered R's demanding more for ourselves.  It's a myth.  
    Clinton, Carter, Kerouac, Ginsberg........came of age in the 50s and 60s and are now (if living seniors) do things for the common good.

    Here, our peace and justice commission has as many gray heads, over 55 as young people.


    I am 63 (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Zorba on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:06:13 PM EST
    and I totally agree with you.

    I'm sure most do (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:27:54 PM EST
    and I think polls reflect that. But nobody seems to be listening. I alternate between stunned and p*ssed off that we are even having this conversation with a so called D in office. And the The Great Bipartisan "Compromise" will end up on the right. All we get to do is wait to see how far right he goes . . .

    And we had a stellar group of Senators (none / 0) (#95)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 06:47:01 PM EST
    who could not be 'bought' - Frank Church and his ilk.

    Yeah, that's crazy (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by sj on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:04:47 PM EST
    Does he think this makes it an easier sell?  It appears that he expects seniors to have an "I have mine, you take care of yours" attitude.  Does he think seniors don't care about their younger siblings, or children or grandchildren?  Who are these beings masquerading as people?

    I know that some people will fall into this kind of thinking.  But I don't think it will work with most.  Will it?  Are we that far gone as a society?


    Not sure what they think :P (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:25:53 PM EST
    but they do seem to want to reassure the current seniors and ignore what a majority of Americans think. Shades of the PO perhaps . . . .

    Ryan's plan vs total risk (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:40:19 PM EST
    There's definitely a lot of risk involved to Republicans for proposing an end to Medicare. But there's far more risk to social policy from Republicans moving so far to the right and Democrats not holding their ground, shifting the center and promising major cutbacks in spending that will most likely hurt the middle class and the poor. link

    The Cat Food Commission which is being sold as the bipartisan compromise change benefits for everyone receiving Social Security even those 65 years or older.

    Reducing Cost-of-Living Adjustments . Cost-of-living adjustments would fall by about 0.3 percentage points a year under the proposal to adopt a different measure of inflation -- the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) -- which analysts generally regard as a more accurate measure of inflation for the economy as a whole.  This change would start in December 2011 and would affect everyone on the benefit rolls at that time.  Softening the impact of this COLA change would be a benefit increase for people who have been eligible for Social Security benefits for 20 years or more, culminating in an average 5-percent benefit bonus after 24 years of eligibility.[

    As someone who's "lucky" enough to be (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:51:46 PM EST
    over 55, but not yet eligible to collect Social Security, I take no comfort in being told that any changes "won't affect me;" while there may be a technical - pardon the pun - "grandfathering" of the over-55 group, that doesn't mean that there isn't great potential for us to lose anyway.

    In some ways, my age group may have a lot more to lose, considering that we are probably among the first group to lose our jobs, and the least likely to find new ones - and I don't see anything about these economic plans that is likely to make anyone's job more secure.

    So not only will the size of our benefit be in jeopardy because of how that benefit is calculated, but there goes the likelihood that additional monies will be able to be contributed to IRA's and 401(k)'s - so less money to live on before we can collect on our SS, and less money  - probably no money - to be saved for retirement.

    We'll have to hope the stock market doesn't crash again, because what we're able to draw on our retirement funds will depend on the value of those plans - and there's going to be less time for those assets to rebound in value.

    No, don't resent us for being "protected" by our age - that's just an illusion designed to keep the votes of the over-55 crowd.

    Golly, I am so tired of these politicians assuming I am stupid.


    No resentment :) (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 03:14:35 PM EST
    I'm still trying to figure out how they can tell people not to worry, they'll "protect" half of the Boomers, but not the other half :P

    and yes, our group is also suffering in the job market and facing the same problems. I've been thinking about what kind of work I'll be able to do in my "retirement". Farm fresh eggs are going for 5 bucks a dozen in some areas 'round here. I think I could handle an egg business in my 70's  :)


    that has not actually happened (none / 0) (#38)
    by CST on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:12:27 PM EST
    at this point.  And Obama isn't the one campaigning on severe cuts to those programs.

    He put them on the table. (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:18:32 PM EST
    this is meaningless (none / 0) (#57)
    by CST on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:30:03 PM EST
    Obama has not cut medicare or social security.  He's not campaigning on that issue, the GOP is.

    And I still don't see what this has to do with me saying that if Obama wants to win over younger voters he should campaign on social issues.  At least it's better than trumping up deficit reduction.


    Key word "severe" (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:26:55 PM EST
    Kinda the same as Obama saying he is not in favor of "slashing" SS benefits. To date, I have yet to hear him say that he is against "cutting" SS benefits. With careful word parsing any cuts that he can define as less "severe" or less drastic than "slashing" can be rationalized as keeping his word.

    Yes, he'll be using a "scalpel" (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:35:31 PM EST
    not a sword (or whatever). How quaint.

    Really (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:31:07 AM EST
    "cat food commission" is an economic issue not a "social" issue

    Economic issues ALWAYS become social issues.

    Different social issues but social issues nonetheless.


    The Obama administration looking out (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:34:27 AM EST
    for their true constituents. New job creation program? Only problem is the jobs are to be created abroad. Short version this proposal: lowers corporate taxes for big players like Wall St, hurts domestic manufacturers (especially small businesses), creates no new revenue to offset the deficit and could encourage corporations to further shift jobs abroad.  

    The approach officials are now discussing would drop the top rate as low as 26 percent, largely by curbing or eliminating tax breaks for depreciation and for domestic manufacturing. Final options have not been presented to Mr. Obama, but officials aim to unveil a single proposal or a set of alternative plans as early as May.
    Balancing deficit concerns with its desire to improve relations with businesses, the Obama administration wants any corporate tax overhaul to be "revenue neutral" -- that is, a new system should bring in no more or less money from businesses than the old one did.

    Thus some sectors with comparatively few major deductions could win big, including Wall Street. Others paying lower "effective rates," like domestic manufacturers, could lose.
    That could expose lawmakers to attack for encouraging corporations to further shift jobs abroad. And permanently shielding overseas income from American taxes would complicate the task of lowering the 35 percent. link

    The thing is, the Deal wasn't really (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:06:18 AM EST
    the beginning - that you can trace back to the days of Obama putting together his economic team for the campaign, and later the administration.  He had choices to make, and it's not hard to see Obama's essential economic philosophy in those choices - especially in the preponderance of Goldman Sachs alums and the proliferation of what I would call the "wrong" Clinton alums (it still irks the crap out of me the frequency with which "Clinton" was attached to these people - as if that was the only seal of approval required, and we weren't smart enough to know that the Clinton alums Obama passed over would have been much better choices for the economic policy we wanted and needed).  The more liberal voices have departed, in large part because they were being ignored.

    So, here we are, and not, I don't believe, by accident, or poor negotiating skills or lack of courage or spine; the Deal wasn't the beginning, and it's not the end - it's definitely a feature and not a bug.

    The presidency is often described as a true test of courage under fire, but I don't think it was meant to test the people in quite the way Obama's presidency is doing.

    I just read that Dick Durbin (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by observed on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:41:06 AM EST
    says what convinced him that the debt needs to be acted on now was Tom  Coburn's "doomsday speech".
    You may recall I said a few days ago it looked like Durbin's mind on preserving the New Deal has been changed; now we know it's because he listened to the genius of Tom Coburn.
    What a f-cking idiot.
    This was on americablog,btw

    Yesterday I wondered outloud why (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:12:13 PM EST
    why Pres. Obama and his WH advisors have jumped on the deficit-reduction bandwagon.  My friend sd., because he doesn't have political support for stimulus.  Huh?

    His desire for $1 billion in (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:20:01 PM EST
    campaign funds.

    The deficit reduction bandwagon will be combined with corporate tax cuts that will provide great benefit to Wall St. and eventually lead to privatizing SS. A twofer that will show just how business friendly Obama can be.  


    His desire for $1 billion (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:22:59 PM EST
    is just obscene, especially given the state the country is in.

    Since the trend seems to be for the (5.00 / 3) (#84)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:43:26 PM EST
    government to stop helping those who need it most, I think we need a concerted effort to encourage people to send their dollars to the organizations that help people one-on-one: food pantries, homeless shelters, Planned Parenthood, senior centers, before and after school care, child nutrition programs, tutoring centers, sports programs for kids, etc.

    Imagine what a billion dollars could do if it went in that direction instead of to politicians who will pocket it and never look back.


    I would not mind a $1 billion campaign (none / 0) (#81)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:30:47 PM EST
    if they use the money imaginatively-not by spending it on expensive television advertisements (the way Meg Whitman did) but spending it through hiring a lot of people to go door to door (the way it was done for the census), spending some money in cheap local media advertisements, etc.

    I think his campaign is confusing (none / 0) (#99)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 06:57:49 PM EST
    $ with winning; to be sure, money is needed to launch a successful campaign, but it is not the whole story.  Didn't the Obama campaign outspend HRC in PA, e.g., many fold, and still lose the primary?

    For what it's worth! (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:22:46 PM EST
    Not that anyone in authority within the Democratic party really cares, but I did write Durbin (my Senator) and told him that if he or any Democrat was instrumental on disbanding the New Deal, they could forget about any support from me.

    I expect to stabbed in the back by Republicans, but when Democrats join in the process, I draw the line.


    Durbin is taking (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Zorba on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:38:32 PM EST
    economics lessons from Tom Coburn???  Since when did U. of Oklahoma Medical School start granting degrees in finance and economics?  Coburn's an MD.  Just because he got an undergraduate degree in accounting back in the 1960's doesn't make him an expert on the economy.  Coburn's an idiot, and Durbin's an even bigger idiot for listening to him.  The Republicans have gone completely off the rails, and the Democrats seemed determined to follow them.  This country is so scr*w*d.

    lagging income (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by dandelion on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:43:16 AM EST
    Yes, and the reason private debt is so high is the lagging income, where wages for everyone but the wealthy have stagnated for 30 years.  If the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity gains, it would be over $19.00 an hour now.  But all the gains in productivity have been pillaged by the wealthy.  

    It all comes back to jobs and wages.  And the costs of healthcare, education and retirement, for which the middle class is increasingly have to take on debt.

    We need an industrial policy and we need a jobs policy, and we aren't going to get that.  We need health care reform, something done about education expense, and expanded retirement security, and we aren't going to get that either.

    Because the wealthy must have their tribute.

    I wonder if there's (none / 0) (#97)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 06:55:19 PM EST
    a pierce the corporate veil claim here?

    If you think (none / 0) (#151)
    by CJ2 on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 06:58:21 PM EST
    If you tax the so called rich they will only find a way to raise the cost of there products or cut someones wages to make up what it cost them so the lower or middle class will be paying the taxes. THINK

    If I (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:09:17 PM EST
    am remembering correctly, Clinton not only raised taxes during the first portion of his first term, but did even raised some taxes retroactively. How that latter part was legal or constitutional escaped me... but that's what I recall happening.

    I also recall that the poor were hit.
    Welfare was cut.

    I never was a fan of Clinton.

    But it seemed to me that the budget deficit turned eventually into a surplus and Clinton not only got reelected, but he probably would have been elected for a third term had that been possible. In short, raising taxes did not prove to be a liability for him.

    Gore certainly was a chump to have distanced himself from Clinton - even to the point where he chose holy Joe as a running mate based on his having been the first democrat to dump on Clinton. Great credentials.

    But I digress.

    If people care about balancing the budget - or getting rid of the deficit - they don't have to remember too far back about how it was done.

    Of course things are exponentially worse now.
    I don't really think things can be ironed out until we stop spending over three billion dollars a week on war.
    And I don't even know if raising taxes could make a truly significant dent in the debt unless we somehow manage to get the crazed democrats and republicans to stop the wars.

    Only (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:57:42 PM EST
    if you consider all poor people to be on welfare did they take a hit. Clinton also raised the EITC that helped a lot of the working poor in this country.

    Any good work on taxes (none / 0) (#94)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 06:42:04 PM EST
    that President Clinton did got wiped out (and more) by the Capitals Gains Tax Cuts that he signed in 1997. link
    From the article
    "The 1997 House tax plan contains proposals which significantly reduce the amount of taxes paid by wealthy individuals and corporations on the sale of appreciated capital assets. The official estimates of these provisions is that they will increase tax revenues by $2.7 billion over the 1997-2002 period, and then lose $37.5 billion over the following five fiscal years. Even based on these estimates, one must question the soundness of such a fiscal policy because of its ever-growing cost in future years. Citizens for Tax Justice has concluded that the official figure are probably grossly optimistic. We find that a more reasonable estimate of the revenue cost of these proposals is $169 billion over ten years."

    You're (none / 0) (#101)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:08:25 PM EST
    making a really good case for not voting for Obama. I mean if he's already giving away the store in his first term, what on earth is he going to do in second term?

    That whole capital gains tax could have been undone easily by Obama but didn't he give them an even bigger tax cut?


    I do not care whether you vote (none / 0) (#105)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:24:37 PM EST
    for the President or not. However, you should retain atleast some level of objectivity in your posts.
    This is the difference between you and me. I focus on the policy, you focus on the person. Since I focus on policy, I criticized BHO about the tax deal, because I know that it is adversely going to affect our future economic policy. I can also give Pres. Clinton credit for rolling back tax rates in 1993 to reduce the deficit, for EITC and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Unfortunately, you cannot find a single thing that Obama did right and Clinton did wrong. I really dislike debating with people who have this mindset.

    You focus (none / 0) (#108)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:29:46 PM EST
    on policy? Uh, no, you don't because you constantly see everything Obama has done as good when the policy has actually been pretty bad.

    Look Obama is a conservative. He idolizes Reagan and even models his presidency after him. I think once you finally accept that like I did you will see things a lot clearer.


    You really have to unclutter your mind (none / 0) (#109)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:57:45 PM EST
    I have not "seen everything that Obama did as good". I already gave you one example, i.e. the tax deal. I told you that in my opinion, the deal was a bad thing for the country.
    It is also really silly to keep saying that Obama "idolizes Reagan".

    Read (none / 0) (#126)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 05:43:46 AM EST
    the time magazine article about it.
    The Bromance

    Reagan is Obama's role model.


    Wait (none / 0) (#149)
    by Politalkix on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:51:34 PM EST
    From the article
    "The attraction was less substantive than stylistic and instinctive"

    Obama (none / 0) (#137)
    by lentinel on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:08:27 AM EST
    evoked Reagan as an example many times during his campaign - much to my discomfort.

    There is no denying it.

    What I think Obama probably most admires about Reagan is that he was totally clueless and sometimes mean-spirited, but he nevertheless managed to make people feel comfortable and optimistic.

    That's good enough for Obama.


    OK (none / 0) (#96)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 06:54:55 PM EST
    Only poor people on welfare took a hit...

    My point was not to defend or condemn Clinton.
    I simply wanted to point to the fact that he did raise taxes and it did not hinder his reelection.

    So why we don't pursue the same path again is a mystery to me - if we are serious about debt reduction (which I don't believe we are).

    And - I reiterate: Unless we end the wars, we are going neither to emerge from debt or from the moral abyss in which we find ourselves. (IMO)


    I know (5.00 / 2) (#103)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:18:36 PM EST
    and I agree with the premise of what you are saying. It's just that some people aournd this seem to think that all poor people are on welfare and something like the working poor doesn't even exist.

    The GOP is not serious about debt reduction because they actually voted to increase military spending. They only want to get rid of social programs.


    Yes... (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:21:59 PM EST
    The republicans are not serious about debt reduction.

    Neither are the democrats.


    Absolutely (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:40:08 AM EST
    Getting rid of social programs advances the real goal, the raison d'etre; establish a totally dominant, privileged, unchallenged, unencumbered  aristocracy.  

    And they have the weapons to back (none / 0) (#127)
    by observed on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:28:47 AM EST
    it up, now.

    what I mean is there are drones (none / 0) (#128)
    by observed on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:29:35 AM EST
    in our domestic future, the way things are going.
    Drones, microwave/sonic weapons, etc.

    Don't forget (none / 0) (#136)
    by sj on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:56:48 AM EST

    Drones in our immediate future. (none / 0) (#142)
    by MO Blue on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:30:18 AM EST
    I became aware of the pro-drone legislation from a February 10, 2011, Syracuse Post Standard report that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) was supporting an amendment to the pending Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill (S. 223) that would create test zones for the introduction of drones into general airspace.

    Senator Schumer was interested in the pro-drone amendment because MQ-9 Reaper drones, killer drones that are flying over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, are stationed at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse. However, FAA safety restrictions have limited drone flights out of Hancock.
    My amendment is designed to help expedite and to improve the process by which FAA works with government agencies to incorporate unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs as they're commonly called, into the National Airspace System. Currently, Mr. Chairman, law enforcement agencies across the country, from Customs and Border Protection to local police departments, et cetera, are ready to embrace the new technology and to start utilizing UAVs in the pursuit of enforcing the law and protecting our border as well. link

    Send 'em your cash (none / 0) (#147)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:03:44 PM EST
    An easy way to end all those notions (none / 0) (#148)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 04:12:16 PM EST
    is to bring up how vulnerable that will make drone technology to the whole world.  If one goes down in a war zone right now it must be retrieved.  We don't want anyone who might find it crashed understanding any of the technology.  Using them on any scale and particularly prolifically stateside only means there are many more avenues for our enemies in the war zones to discover more about the technology used and hack into them or crash them.  If someone says this a few times on the mainsteam news programs the idea will likely implode.

    Clinton oversaw (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:08:49 PM EST
    a burgeoning economy and under his leadership, the country wasn't paying for wars we shouldn't have been committed to

    But David Brooks Says This Budget Is Not Brave (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by john horse on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:22:42 PM EST
    Courage used to be a willingness to stand up for the less fortunate.  Now, according to Brooks, it means being willing to screw those in need.

    Conservatives like Ryan and their enablers like Brooks aren't being courageous. They are just being mean.  Kudos to Paul Krugman for pointing this out.  

    Since WWII (2.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:58:07 AM EST

    Since WWII the top marginal income tax rate has been as high as 90% and as low as 28%.  During that time federal tax revenue has been about 19% of GDP plus or minus 1%.  

    The marginal income tax rate appears to be unrelated or at best poorly related to revenue as a percent of GDP.  That's just historical fact.  The biggest driver of increasing tax revenue is a growing economy.  

    Unfortunately the Obama administration seems to be in favor of policies that retard economic growth.  Witness the recent blockage of coal mining and petroleum extraction projects.  Those projects would have had many good paying jobs and produced products that consumers want to buy.


    Don't you have some hamsters to maim? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Dadler on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:53:11 PM EST
    If you are just so concerned about economic growth, I'd think you'd be pretty pissed about the secret budget we're just finding out about, because the Fed finally has to show SOME of its books.  You know, the secret budget where TRILLIONS are given away to just about every person and institution who would NEVER need financial help -- my personal fave being the $220 million we handed to a couple of Wall Street CEO housewives in non-recourse "loans" (hint, non-recourse means they're not really loans but gifts). Even Gaddafi got a nice chunk from us pretty recently.  

    And this nonsense adds into the TRILLIONS!!

    Given away.  To those already so wealthy they would never need to see another dime of income in their lives.

    And the problem is WHAT again?

    Please, tell us how we should ignore reality (trillions pilfered by the wealthiest of the wealthy, and an artificial budget "crisis" manufactured) to live in your little fantasy world (the rich pay way too much, the poor don't pay sh*t, and people dying in coal mines is our real ticket to recovery).

    Unreal.  Truly unreal.

    Run, hamsters, run!!


    When the feds (none / 0) (#70)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 03:04:43 PM EST

    When the feds are spending 25% of GDP (including giveaways to the hated rich) and the historical record indicates that the tax system can pull in not much more than 20% you have a problem.  Covering that problem with printing press money turns a problem into a crisis.  

    If the feds are covering loans to spouses of CEO's its pretty clear they are unable to prioritize spending.  Lets give them more money to play with!


    You know the difference (none / 0) (#74)
    by sj on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 03:54:43 PM EST
    between the feds and the Fed, right?

    Yes (none / 0) (#112)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:45:40 PM EST
    The federal reserve is a creature of the federal government.

    The Fed (none / 0) (#122)
    by sj on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:30:02 AM EST
    is independent within the government and is not answerable to either the executive or the legislative branch.  They are their own "creature".

    Which frankly, is worse.  Also rather different than your description.


    The Federal Reserve (none / 0) (#140)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:09:32 AM EST

    The Federal Reserve did not create itself nor spring fully formed from the head of a forest elf.  It was created by the federal government and the federal government sets the rules the Fed lives by.

    Yes indeed it does (none / 0) (#141)
    by sj on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:25:27 AM EST
    And by those rules, it is not answerable to the executive and legislative branches of the government.

    Jeebus, at least read the links provided to you.


    It is answerable (none / 0) (#143)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 12:12:13 PM EST
    to the extent Congress decides.  The federal government allows the Fed to act in the fashion you describe.  BTW, have you not heard of the Humphrey-Hawkins act?  

    That "independence" exists only to the degree the federal government finds acceptable.  That is not truly independent.  

    The acid test question is, can the federal government abolish the Federal Reserve if it chose to?  The answer of course is, yes.  That alone puts the Fed on a leash.


    If that's your acid test (none / 0) (#144)
    by sj on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 01:12:35 PM EST
    The Post Office is a "creature" of the feds.  The CDC is a "creature" of the feds.  The Social Security Administration is a "creature" of the feds.  The military forces are all "creatures" of the feds...

    All the HH Act vis a vis the Fed did was create a governing board and give it a mandate.  Oh, and also require the Fed give a "report" twice a year.  Not ask for instructions twice a year.

    You sometimes almost sound like you might know a little bit about some of the issues, but it always breaks down in the details.


    He's probably in the same (none / 0) (#145)
    by Anne on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:03:54 PM EST
    internet research skills class with ABG...

    [damn...now that I've mentioned him, he's bound to show up]


    ::hisses:: (none / 0) (#146)
    by sj on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:22:00 PM EST
    ::with crossed index fingers::

    Here is a link (2.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Slado on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:36:26 PM EST
    for what he is talking about

    Obama can prattle on about "fair share" and taxing the rich but the truth is raising the taxes on the rich won't result in any additional income, and what little income it does generate won't pay off the massive debt he's run up during his two years in office and it definitely won't pay for the systems we already have in place and he refuses to touch.

    Everything must be cut, military, Social Security, all of it.

    We can only collect about 20% of GDP in taxes no matter what the rates are and we are currently spending 22-23% in benefits.

    We can always run a slight deficit but not the one we're currently running.

    If you can't wrap your mind around these realities without resorting to partisan name calling then you aren't much help on this one.


    Please stop spreading misinformation, Slado (none / 0) (#63)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:13:34 PM EST
    SS does not need to be cut or tampered with at all. It is solvent till 2037.
    If Republicans have a plan to damage the economy so badly that no growth can occur before 2037, please honestly explain your plan to people.

    BS (1.50 / 2) (#92)
    by Slado on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:30:31 PM EST
    The idea that SS is solvent is laughable.

    It is not solvent.  Enron was also solvent according to Arthur Anderson.

    Whenever someone wants to remove a government program from the debate then I don't take them seriously anymore.

    20% of GDP in tax revenue.  Spend it how you like.

    But Social Security taxes can't be held off to the side.  That money is tax dollars that can't be used on something else.

    The point isn't that SS isn't solvent (I don't think it is but that point is moot) the point is a dollar saved on Social Security is a dollar we have to fund another program.


    To be fair (none / 0) (#65)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:29:20 PM EST
    2037 is not that far away.  This is a stat that keeps getting thrown out - like we shouldn't worry our pretty little heads about it.

    To be fair (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by sj on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:51:11 PM EST
    2037 not that close either.  And there are a lot of things that are more immediate in nature.  And a very simple fix to the SS issue 26 years from now is to raise the cap.

    In no way should this be dominating the national conversation.


    A crock (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 03:57:06 PM EST
    Todays politician has no vision. They're not looking at 25 yrs down the road. They only look as far as the next election cycle.

    Completely agree (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by sj on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:09:43 PM EST
    Repeat:  There is no reason to put SS on the table.

    So why are they going after SS, then?  Because that's where the money is.  And Wall Street wants it.  Badly.


    Next market Crash (none / 0) (#82)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:31:29 PM EST
    What will the country do (in the future) about the seniors when the next market crash comes? We've had two major hits in 10 yrs.

    Republicans aren't content with just destroying pensions, they want to kill Social Security too.

    If the Republicans in Congress are serious, they'd vote to change their pesnsion plan. Maybe they should have to work at it for 30 years like the rest of us. They also should be made to wait until they're 65 to collect it. Things are very different when they're your's.


    One of underlying reasons for (5.00 / 4) (#100)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:00:35 PM EST
    attacking SS is the fact that the government has borrowed from the SS trove, and wants to be able to cancel that debt and not pay it back.

    They can't "slash" taxes for (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by MO Blue on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:59:03 AM EST
    corporations and the rich and spend billions a day on wars and meet their financial obligations to the people who paid into the SS system for 50 years.

    They want to "slash" taxes even more for corporations and the rich so they definitely want to cancel the debt on SSS and spend past and future funds on their priorities - tax cuts and wars.


    Exactly right. (none / 0) (#111)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:31:01 PM EST
    We also can't wait (none / 0) (#130)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:02:07 AM EST
    Until the year 2035 to wait to find a solution.

    Focusing on job creation (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by MO Blue on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:17:05 AM EST
    and putting 20.2 million people to work in full time jobs with decent pay would help SS and the deficit much more than any of the recommendations now being proposed by Obama/Simpson/Bowles or the Republicans.

    Cutting benefits now to prevent possible smaller cuts in the future makes no sense. Even raising the cap on FICA to increase the SS surplus would only provide the powers that be in D.C. with an additional surplus to spend on more tax cuts and more wars.  


    The "solution" is not difficult (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by sj on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:34:00 AM EST
    It isn't complicated.  It isn't a mystery.  It's simple.

    Raise the cap.  There.  Now you can stop fretting about what to do and fret about making them do it.  Sometime in the next 10 years.


    No theory (none / 0) (#24)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:52:20 AM EST

    I am not talking about theory.  Only the historical record.

    If something has been tried before, do you have a reason that the results should be ignored?  Wishes may be more fun, but facts have utility as well.


    Re: The Facts (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:26:19 AM EST

    Witness the recent blockage of coal mining and petroleum extraction projects.  T

    Except that domestic production of crude oil has gone up since Obama became President, and which has done jacksh*t for domestic oil prices since then, BTW.

    Oil Production Spikes Under Obama


    Production of both coal and petroleum (none / 0) (#36)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:09:58 PM EST

    Production of both coal and petroleum are both long lead time items, several years in fact.  Obama had nothing to do with permits that were issued well before he came into office.  

    Even if production has gone up in the past two years, that is no reason to kill the jobs that new production would provide.  You don't hate the unemployed do you?



    This is all designed so that he can (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:37:55 PM EST
    have the argument he wants to have, and then declare himself the winner - Yay!  I'm sure he is also a winner at solo tic-tac-toe and Go Fish.

    From time to time, we see this from others, and aside from the downside of it filling up the comments quickly, it has an upside of being good for honing one's arguments for the inevitable debates with non-blog friends, family and acquaintances; think of it as tuning up your BS detector... :-)


    Domestic production (none / 0) (#69)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 03:01:49 PM EST
    is a drop in the bucket and is a short-term solution at best for unemployment, green jobs have been good for CA according to a recent study and should be good for the country as a whole.

    California's leadership in technology and business innovation as well as public policy innovation has fueled this growth in the state's green economy and will determine its sustained success. Through implementation of standards, incentives and funding directed to vital research and development, state policy makers have created market certainty and spurred the application of new clean "green" energy technology.

    Click or Many_Shades_Of_Green(.pdf file) Me


    From the referenced Krugman article: (none / 0) (#21)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:45:14 AM EST
    Paul Ryan's (House Republicans) begins by warning that "a major debt crisis is inevitable" unless we confront the deficit.  It then calls, not for tax increases, but for tax cuts, with taxes on the wealthy falling to their lowest level since 1931."  And, of course, to pay for these tax cuts, "savage" cuts in spending are called for including  privatization and defunding of Medicare

    "President Obama's proposal is a lot better.  At least it calls for raising taxes on high incomes back to the Clinton-era levels. But preserves the rest of the Bush tax cuts--cuts that were originally sold as a way to dispose of a large budget surplus.  And, as a result still relies heavily on spending cuts, even as it falls short of actually balancing he budget."   No proposal for letting all, or even more, of the Bush tax cuts to expire.

    So there we have it.  The two proposals: Ryan's and Obama's, the starting point for negotiations (the two extremes), with a nice bipartisan compromise in the waiting.  

    It would seem that Obama would  continuously be all over the Ryan Medicare dismantlement--a political no-brainer. . A proposal that not only shifts costs onto the elderly themselves, but also, onto their children and grandchildren.   Medicare, as  with  Social Security, includes the entire family as beneficiaries.

    And Ryan as a beneficiary of SS (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by Towanda on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:17:19 AM EST
    himself for two years as a teenager, banking for college the Social Security bucks that he got, could be used as an example by Obama and the Dems that SS isn't entirely old-age insurance.

    But that report came and went so fast that it was just more evidence that there are a lot of Dems, from the top down, who want to take down Social Security (and a lot else from their legacy), too.


    Spooky....And Ryan (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 03:37:46 PM EST
    anagram for Ayn Rand!

    "TALK" of letting the Bush tax cuts (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:22:19 AM EST
    expire has been a "talking" point for every major Democratic campaign since they were originally passed. IIRC John Kerry spent the revenue created by repealing them several times over during the 2004 campaign. When push came to shove it became evident that this was just a "talking" point and not something that the Dems were actually going to do. Don't see any reason to believe that Obama is actually going to let them expire in the future since he is backing additional corporate and individual tax cuts even as he is "talking" about raising taxes on high incomes back to the Clinton-era levels..

    Maybe President Obama (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:14:18 PM EST
    will note the "good Republican idea" presented by David Stockman, the budget director for our transformational president, Ronald Reagan (cf. NYT Sunday op ed, April 24).  Stockman (if you can overlook the apparent mandatory false equivalencies) makes a case for letting all the Bush tax cuts expire. Of course, this is the same David Stockman who was taken to the woodshed by Reagan for telling the truth about trickle down economics, and could be considered an old-fashioned Republican, not with it like his Tea-Republican contemporaries.

    Not just the two proposals referenced by Krugman (none / 0) (#49)
    by DFLer on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:46:28 PM EST
    Later he says:
    And that's why the only major budget proposal out there offering a plausible path to balancing the budget is the one that includes significant tax increases: the "People's Budget" from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which -- unlike the Ryan plan, which was just right-wing orthodoxy with an added dose of magical thinking -- is genuinely courageous because it calls for shared sacrifice.

    Yes, but the "Peoples Budget" (none / 0) (#64)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:28:26 PM EST
    seems unlikely to be the starting point of Democratic negotiations.  More likely, a non-starting point, unfortunately.

    Understood (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by DFLer on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:05:24 PM EST
    Only meant to point out krugman's final best choice.

    Something strange going on... (none / 0) (#56)
    by Mike Pridmore on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:28:16 PM EST
    As Digby noted here, Matt Yglesias has noticed that some major rightwingers are changing their tone on raising taxes, as if they have decided that the old line, the one that raising taxes on the rich will hurt the economy, is no longer viable.  Norquist seems to think it is.

    More Rovian ... (none / 0) (#61)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:00:08 PM EST
    than Norquistian in the long run.  But that's just a quibble.  BTD's general point is valid.

    raising taxes (none / 0) (#150)
    by CJ2 on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 06:25:24 PM EST
     If Congress raises taxes who do you think will be paying them. Oh, you say they are only going to raise taxes on those making 200,000 or more. When did you ever see a person making that much not find a way to recoup his or her money by either raising the cost of the product they make or cutting back on the amont of product offered. So all in all it will be the middle and lower class paying the bill.