The Problem With the Defense Spending Triggered Cut

Ezra Klein presents the White House talking point that the defense spending triggered spending cuts are a real stick in the mini-Catfood Commission bargaining:

What it includes instead are massive cuts to the defense budget. If Congress doesn’t pass a second round of deficit reduction, the trigger cuts $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Fully half of that comes from defense spending. And note that I didn’t say “security spending.” The Pentagon takes the full hit if the trigger goes off. [. . .] Whether you think the trigger will work depends on whether you think the GOP would permit that level of cuts to defense.

Ezra rightly dismisses the WH spin that revenue increases are in fact on the table. They aren't. (Ezra makes the more plausible case that the Bush tax cuts expiring is the real revenue trigger.) That said, cutting defense spending via an automatic trigger is meaningless when you consider the Congress can reverse those automatic cuts through separate legislation. Which they almost certainly would. Indeed, they could easily use President Obama's own words:

President Barack Obama believes cutting defense spending by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, as suggested by the Simpson-Bowles Commission, goes too far for a country still at war. "There were aspects of Bowles-Simpson that I said from very early on were not the approach I would take," Obama told reporters July 15. "On defense spending, a huge amount of their savings on the discretionary side came out of defense spending. I think we need to cut defense, but as commander in chief, I've got to make sure that we're cutting it in a way that recognizes we're still in the middle of a war, we're winding down another war, and we've got a whole bunch of veterans that we've got to care for as they come home."

Given these statements from the President, it is impossible to believe that he would or could oppose a stand alone bill that would reverse the automatic triggered cuts to defense spending.

Imagine the automatic trigger date looming after the mini-Catfood Commission fails. Then imagine a bill sailing through the House restoring the defense spending. Do you see the Senate stopping it? The President? I don't.

There is a benefit to this structure - the amount of cuts will be smaller than advertised - about a trillion less by my reckoning. And that's not nothing. But as leverage to make a bargain on tax increases? No way, no how.

NOTE - I am assuming this provision survives bargaining today, something I am not at all sure of.

Speaking for me only

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    Ahem (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by lentinel on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 08:04:34 AM EST
    Ezra rightly dismisses the WH spin that revenue increases are in fact on the table. They aren't.

    Would it be indelicate of me to say that Obama is LYING to us?

    Only (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by NYShooter on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 08:09:40 AM EST
    if you believe it was a bipartisan agreement

    And I'm sick of him lying to my face (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 08:18:10 AM EST
    How dare he at this juncture.  He lied to my damned face about supporting a public option and he's lying to my damned face on this and he needs to be seriously called out for it and smacked the hell down for it.

    How dare he defend our being at war as well, but keep protecting the rich from paying their fair share.  Our military strength protects the wealth of those damned filthy rich people and their little yachts too.  Sorry to those who my words will offend, but how dare he!!!!  This President deserves to be a one a term President.  Many women may have to vote for him trying to protect our right to choose, but as a human being he doesn't deserve a second term.


    he protects our right to chose? (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 08:40:22 AM EST
    are we only interested in our Uteri?  Is that all there is to us?  I haven't even had one for almost 30 years, since after the birth of my 2nd huge son was born.
     Young women should stop looking to Obama to protect their right to chose.  If they have not been thrown under the bus yet it is only because he has been too busy to get to them yet.

    I have a disabled child (5.00 / 7) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 08:50:56 AM EST
    I love him dearly too and I don't wish that I had not had him.  If my marriage was not as strong as it is though it could have easily finished it.  The birth of a disabled child kills more than half of marriages and if having a disabled child wasn't already hard....now you have it  become almost impossible.  Because this is a choice though, we are forever empowered.  Nobody forced us to do this, we are not victims.  I don't kid myself though, destroy choice and we will rediscover orphanages because the foster care program will not be able to handle it.  Sadly many many disabled children find themselves abandoned already.  When my son speaks of adopting a child, he wants to adopt a child who has problems similar to his.  He asked me if I would help him go through the hard things like surgeries and I told him if I was able that I would.  Choice is a very serious right in this household though.  It rules my days and my reality in ways that my heart, mind and soul will never escape.  Having a special needs child is probably the most draining thing that can happen to someone, you have to choose it to even begin to make it through it.

    the right to chose is key (5.00 / 5) (#10)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:51:37 AM EST
    to the health of women and families.  I just don't believe Obama protects it.  I think a moderate republican woman would do a much better job of protecting women and families.  Unfortunately there is not one running for president.
    Obama is about "I'm a uniter, not a divider" and that is his weakness as a democrat because he will stand in the middle as if it is some sort of virtue no matter how far to the right the middle moves.

    That is a beautiful (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by observed on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:37:56 AM EST
    comment. I have always appreciated how you share your experiences in this area.

    Don't expect Obama to do anything to protect a (none / 0) (#20)
    by jawbone on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:32:19 AM EST
    woman's right to choose. In Supreme Court nominees, he looks for people who think the way he does. Scary thought that....

    Who could I trust more though (none / 0) (#85)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 01:23:50 PM EST
    The Republican candidate?

    Bring back war bonds (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Towanda on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 08:26:59 AM EST
    and solve this.  If the people really want all of these wars, especially the rich people who profiteer from them, have them buy war bonds and take the wars out of the budget.

    We'll pay them back later.  Or, like what we're doing to Social Security, we won't; we'll just call the war bonds an entitlement and cut back on repayment later.  But at least for now, we can stop all this deflection and distraction over this manufactured debt crisis and can get the focus back on Obama's inability to do a damn thing about JOBS to really fix the economy.

    Jobs you say (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by cal1942 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 08:46:35 AM EST
    You might be interested in this.

    Gene Sperling just can't wait for the debt crisis thing to be over so the push can start to get the South Korea, Panama and Columbia trade deals through Congress.

    Good for investor class, the finance industry, etc.  Bad for everyone else.  

    Toward the middle of the post we have this mini lesson in economics:

    By some estimates, U.S. corporations are sitting on about $2 trillion in cash and banks have returned to profitability, so a lot of money is sitting idle, waiting for profitable investment opportunities.  Economists have noted that there is considerable evidence that the growth of consumer demand is too anemic in the U.S. to spur much investment here, so the investment eye is on the emerging markets of the world where real incomes and consumer demand are growing.

    And Congress and the Administration are cutting spending.

    The good news is that as all this shakes out the wealthy will be able to afford servants with a college education.


    Correction (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by NYShooter on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 08:53:17 AM EST
    Not only did that lying Weasel, GWB, not pay for his war on Iraq, he made sure the cost was "off budget." Because we all know Republicans are very, very concerned about America's "Deficits."

    Krugman (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:31:02 AM EST
    His latest blog entry which seems worth quoting in total:

    That's the question Obama's kinda-sorta defenders keep asking; it's supposed to be a conversation-stopper.

    But the answer is clear: I would have made a statement declaring that giving in to this kind of blackmail would constitute a violation of my oath of office, and that my lawyers, on careful reflection, have determined that there are several legal options that allow me to ignore this extortionate demand.

    Now, the Obama people say that this wasn't actually an option. Well, I hate to say this, but I don't believe them.

    Think about the history here; think about all the misjudgments, all the reasons this administration has come up with not to act -- not to act against the bankers, not to act on taxes, and down the line. Think of the colossal misjudgment over Republican intentions on debt. Why, at this point, should anyone trust these people when they say that they did all they could?

    It's much, much too late for Obama and co. to say "Trust us, we know what we're doing." My reservoir of trust is now completely drained. And I know I'm not alone.

    Emphasis mine.  And, no, Paul, you're not alone.  Not by a long shot.

    Krugman still seems, unfortunately, to (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Anne on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:36:11 AM EST
    believe that this is about Obama lacking the skills needed to counter the Republican ideology (he's a poor negotiator, he doesn't' know what he's doing), as opposed to seeing and accepting what's really at the heart of all of this: Obama believes in what he's proposed (well, as much as a truly hollow person can believe in anything) and accepted the Republican approach to fiscal/economic policy - and if one "follows the money" it's not hard to figure out why: those who benefit most from these policies are the ones writing checks to political campaigns.

    So why does Krugman - and he's not alone - keep clinging to the Helpless, Hapless President model - is it because bumbling and fumbling is so benign, and he doesn't want to think what Obama does is deliberate or calculated, or is it that he just can't admit that America has a Republican president?  Or all of the above?

    But, okay, so, what if we accepted the HHP model - what's Congress' excuse?  Why have they not ridden in to save the president - and the country - from his clumsiness?  Are they too afraid to embarrass him, be seen as disloyal, afraid the HHP - controller of the DNC - will not be so clumsy that he can't throw them under the bus?  Or is Congress in on it, too?  "Follow the money" works for Congress, too - no surprise there.  I mean, Congress and the president did do "all they could"  - for the industries and corporate elite who fund their campaigns; the rest of us?  Not so much.

    Krugman's getting there, but I'm willing to bet that any infinitesimal improvement in any segment of the economy will find Krugman discovering the trust he thought he'd lost and running back into Obama's open arms.


    Yup ... (none / 0) (#86)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:29:25 PM EST
    But I think 'graphs 3 and 5 suggest he's moving in our direction on this.

    When he suggests that the administration is lying when they say they couldn't go the constitution route that's not implying incompetence.


    Defense cuts... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:59:35 AM EST
    Our bone in this latest reverse robin hood scheme, and of course it will be snatched from our plate once we sit down to enjoy it.

    Old ladies will starve long before defense contractors see less cashish, if Uncle Sam has anything to say/do about it.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#73)
    by jbindc on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:14:25 PM EST
    The old ladies should go to work for the defense contractors?  

    Rosie... (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:58:52 PM EST
    the Arthritic 70 year old Riveter...it'll make one helluva campaign poster.

    It's the patriotic thing to do Grandma, where's your sense of shared sacrifice in these hard times? Your country...err, your banksters & grifters...need you!


    Aurtomatic defense cuts have about (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by ruffian on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:15:37 AM EST
    as much chance of happening as Bush-Obama tax cuts have of automatically expiring.

    That's all you need to know.

    Sound Familiar (2.00 / 1) (#28)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:57:09 AM EST
    Slate nails it. Their form progressive outrage letter to save time:

    "I am [outraged/fed up/fixin' to vomit] at the news of this [sellout/betrayal/Chekovian drama of political adultery]. While I have yet to see all the details of this plan, it may be the worst piece of legislation since [the Kansas/Nebraska compromise/the Enabling Act/the one that renamed a rest stop in New Jersey after Howard Stern]. We all agree that the deficit needs to be reduced, but it should not be done [on the backs of our seniors/in the dead of night/until we reach 4 percent unemployment again]. Instead, we Democrats are being asked to support a [Satan sandwich/Hitler hoagie/bin Laden banh mi], with a [mayonnaise of betrayal/chipotle glaze of mistrust/pesto of austerity]. If this is passed, our president - whom I [supported/strongly supported/had to suck it up and support, even though I liked Hillary Clinton and saw all this crap coming, because if I didn't the Daily Kos comment section would have made me out to be a racist, and I'm totally not] - risks becoming a new [Jimmy Carter/Grover Cleveland/Emperor Palpatine]. Let's [go back to the drawing board/head back to the table/find some new sand, draw a line in it, and borrow a can from my friend Bruce that we can kick around]. America can do [better than/slightly better than/not quite as terrible as] this."


    So I assume you think (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:06:01 AM EST
    some drastically different piece of legislation that bears no resemblance to what's been talked about over the past two weeks is going to magically appear and sail through the House and Senate?



    Now, be reasonable. Not today, because (none / 0) (#37)
    by Towanda on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:11:48 AM EST
    magical thinkers always tell us that they will be proved correct tomorrow.

    I think (none / 0) (#40)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:15:40 AM EST
    that we've known for weeks that there wouldn't be revenue in the bill because the GOP is insane.

    With that in mind, look at what the Dems defense was able to do:

    1. No cuts to entitlements
    2. The sacred third rail of defense cuts has been breached.
    3. 2012 Bush Tax Cut Expiration Weapon is still there
    4. Backloaded cuts that can be reversed later if necessary.


    In terms of how this will change anything this year and next year, the impact is minimal for the average person. And what happens if the committee recommends tax increases? The GOP will have really screwed themselves.

    We know what the deal is and what it will be now. I just don't get why we have this sudden outrage.  If you were paying attention at all you knew it would look something like this for weeks.


    #1 is not accurate (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:24:51 AM EST
    it should read . . .

    No cuts to "entitlements" at the moment. Those will happen by Dec 23, 2011.

    And you're a fool if you believe #3.


    OK (none / 0) (#53)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:51:15 AM EST
    Cuts to defense will happen by December 2011.  

    I don't know how to discuss it intelligently when you can take the assumptions that you favor and argue that they are inevitable.


    It's even more ludicrous (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:54:43 AM EST
    to argue that what you're saying is inevitable. Obama has a track record that supports our side, not yours.

    But BTD told you to go away today, so shoo delusional one.


    "Sudden outrage"? (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:45:38 AM EST

    The real ABG who's been here for months has been berating us all daily for being outraged.  Only a new one typing under the same moniker would think this is "sudden" outrage.



    I berate no one (none / 0) (#55)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:53:10 AM EST
    I give a different democratic perspective and don't spend all day bashing and I guess that means I berate people.


    Anywho, the point is that you can go back and look at the comments 3 weeks ago and the prime concern was immediate cuts to entitlements in the middle of a recession.


    No (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:55:26 AM EST
    You spend all day bashing people who come to logical conclusions rather than your hopelessly deluded ones.

    No (none / 0) (#66)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:05:58 PM EST
    Actually I bash no one any more than they bash me and do it in a completely respectful way.

    I just don't agree with the assumptions and facts presented here in a lot of cases.

    It's not my fault that people view disagreement as a flaw.

    Basically there is one guy, me, presenting the counter democratic view here on a fairly consistent basis.  I don't call anyone names (unless you consider "hater" an insult and generally try to respond to all criticisms with back up or a thought out response.

    And people just cannot freaking handle it. It just drives them nuts that everyone here isn't thinking with their uni-mind.

    Let me say this:

    Today, I think the majority of liberals of all types are upset.  I have read only Chait give any kind of real defense of the bill and I'm guessing that it is 90-95% anti deal on the blogs I read, including those Obama lovers over on Kos.

    So in a world where everyone on the left is unified, where your thoughts are ensconced in the warm womb of collective agreement, you've got one guy posting that "hey, maybe it isn't as bad as you think" and you completely lose your sh*t about it.  BTD thinks I should leave to avoid hurting feelings in this sensitive, sensitive time.  Others think "I disagree" is the worst kind of berating you can get. Etc.

    Never been more proud to be in the "wait, maybe we should think about this another way" 1% than today.


    It's not the (5.00 / 4) (#69)
    by jbindc on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:11:34 PM EST
    "wait, maybe we should think of this another way" that people object to - it's the fact that every one of your premises is that it's good for Obama. In a perfect world, it shouldn't matter who occupies the Ovala Office - at the end of the day, the question should be "Is this good for the American people?"  Or at least, "Does this benefit a majority of the American people?"

    What a stinking crock (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:14:12 PM EST
    Your only motivation is to argue that Obama is right about everything and should be re-elected no matter what. Then you get angry because people deconstruct your front-loaded fallacies. Then you play all hurt and go sulk at having to be the lone dissenter. Martrydom never had a better spokesman than you.  

    I am not angry about any of this (none / 0) (#75)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:18:21 PM EST
    The folks angry are the ones freaking out about any disagreement.


    Pretend that I am sending this message from the future where I am back commenting again.

    This attempt to stop commenting today is not going well.


    Must be tough (5.00 / 4) (#78)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:21:29 PM EST
    to not have any self-control. Think of it this way: you can spend your day lecturing the women folk over on the feminist blogs. 'Cuz they need your lone dissenting perspective.

    In fact (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:56:01 AM EST
    you've spent all today bashing, while saying you never bash.

    And who was it (none / 0) (#62)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:57:16 AM EST
    that brought up those entitlement cuts?

    I am in a weird position (none / 0) (#71)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:13:46 PM EST
    where I have been asked to leave but people are still asking me questions.

    How about I chime in on an open thread after Obama signs the legislation and we rock and roll there.

    Just assume that I had very smart, intelligent, well thought out and downright dazzling responses to all of the criticism and questions, but I can't respond.

    And with that . . . Scottie, engage.

    [insert pic of ABG beaming out of comments Star Trek style]


    WTF? (none / 0) (#74)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:17:21 PM EST
    I have never asked you to leave and certainly haven't in this thread.

    If you want to act put-upon at least address that kind of crap to the people who are telling you to go.

    "I'll answer that question later" will suffice.


    lilburro (none / 0) (#76)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:19:39 PM EST
    I was talking my normal stuff and BTD says:

    "Your BS is not well received today.  Come back tomorrow."

    How do you interpret that?


    "...but I can't respond." (none / 0) (#79)
    by the capstan on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:46:46 PM EST
    I wish!

    Well if your argument (none / 0) (#43)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:23:54 AM EST
    is that the bill essentially has no substance, then why post what Slate said, which basically says "I haven't seen the bill but I'm going to carp about it anyway."

    The lead in if you read the link (none / 0) (#64)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:00:00 PM EST

    "Realistically, progressives have maybe 10 hours to send out their own furious statements about the sell-out."

    That was part of the joke.

    Joke fail.  People want to be angry today.  I'll come back when people don't hate Obama as mu . . .

     . . . dang, I may never be back.  Let me set a different standard.


    '. . . dang, I may never be back.' (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:02:17 PM EST
    Pretty please?

    If that was a joke (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:11:44 PM EST
    then you've been "joking" a lot in this thread.

    Can't believe I actually took the time to do this, (5.00 / 7) (#36)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:11:42 AM EST

    "I am [thrilled/tingling] at the news of this [best progressive legislation evuh, Godly rein]. While I have yet to see all the details of this plan, it may be the best piece of legislation since [birth of our country/end of slavery]. We all agree that the deficit needs to be reduced, but it should not be done [in any way that might at all cripple Obama's reputation as Mr. Post-partisan]. Instead, we Democrats are being asked to support a [thrilling act of perfection], with an [even greater amount of perfection]. If this is passed, our president - whom I [fainted when he took that swig of water during the primaries] risks becoming a new [FDR/God]. Let's [let this amazing perfection stand]. America can do [no better than] this because it's the BEST THING EVUH!"


    Can't believe (none / 0) (#81)
    by the capstan on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:53:23 PM EST
    that today I am finding the argument for 'feeding raw' on a dog blog more engaging than TL.

    Well . . . (none / 0) (#82)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:57:29 PM EST
    that is a much healthier argument than the one from the WH ;)

    That all you got? (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:13:02 AM EST

    What else is there to say (1.75 / 4) (#42)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:19:19 AM EST
    There will be weeks of moaning and complaining and forgetting about the fact that the President isn't a dictator and can't make the House of Reps disappear and that will be that.

    The people mad at this deal are the same ones that would have been mad at pretty much any deal that was able to pass the House.

    That's the problem with being angry about everything. The gripes come to mean nothing.

    Seriously, what if this bill was $1 trillion less in cuts.  What if it included modest revenue increases. What if it didn't include the concept of the committee of 6.

    Would those complaining here complain any less?

    Course not.

    That's why their opinions can't really be viewed as objective in any way.

    But I do fear that they are whining loudly enough to fool moderate dems into thinking its worse than it really is.  That is a concern.


    When you can't argue the facts (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by jbindc on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:25:36 AM EST
    Attack your opponent.



    I don't have an opponent (2.00 / 1) (#51)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:50:13 AM EST
    other than conservatives.

    I am not thrilled about this deal.  I think Obama and the dems could have gotten something slightly but not much better.

    To be clear not so much better that people here wouldn't be complaining just as much.  

    A bill that would have pleased Anne for example could not have passed the House under almost any circumstances.


    Inquiring minds want to know... (none / 0) (#61)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:56:19 AM EST
    ...are you wearing your liberal hat today?

    It doesn't matter what (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:52:19 AM EST
    bill is passed, you'll defend it....

    I don't believe that's true (none / 0) (#52)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:51:00 AM EST
    Seriously, what if this bill was $1 trillion less in cuts.  What if it included modest revenue increases. What if it didn't include the concept of the committee of 6.

    Would those complaining here complain any less?

    Course not.

    I think overall the reception to something like that would be much warmer in liberal/left/Dem circles.

    1.6 trillion in cuts?  500 billion in revenue increases?  And that's it?  

    People would be happier.


    Honestly (5.00 / 5) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:49:01 AM EST
    Your BS is not well received today.

    Come back tomorrow.


    BTD (1.00 / 2) (#56)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:54:21 AM EST
    Nothing sounds better than the reflection of your own thoughts.

    Enjoy your echoes.

    I'll be back when folks can talk rationally.


    And then he leaves (none / 0) (#63)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:57:32 AM EST
    after bashing BTD....

    "bashing" (1.00 / 1) (#68)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:07:10 PM EST

    But that is the same problem with all (none / 0) (#4)
    by Buckeye on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 08:18:49 AM EST
    spending cuts.  They can be reversed.  That is why spending never falls on anything.  

    The other half of these spending cuts (if I understand this correctly) goes to Medicare suppliers.  Congress could reverse that too.  I can see Obama putting a bill together saying "I do not want to cut Medicare $1T over the next 10 years.  We need to do deficit reduction differently."  Would the GOP vote down that bill in the house/senate?  The GOP certainly wants to dismantle entitlements, but not in a way that would make them targets in an election year.

    You're kidding right? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by sj on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:58:35 AM EST
    I can see Obama putting a bill together saying "I do not want to cut Medicare $1T over the next 10 years.  We need to do deficit reduction differently."
    This IS what he wants.  You know that, right?

    I have to agree with you. (none / 0) (#18)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:28:57 AM EST
    That is absolutely not going to happen.  He has allowed deficit reduction to be defined by Congress; I don't think he's going to be drawing any sharp lines relating to it.

    I will welcome Obama and his team suddenly becoming more clever at dealing with the GOP, though.


    so more doctors will stop (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:00:23 AM EST
    accepting medicare.  Fabulous.  That is still an attack on the old and the sick.

    Why are you surprised?? (1.50 / 2) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:03:06 AM EST
    Obamacare takes $500 billion from Medicare and does, whether anyone likes the term or not because it came from Palin, set up the conditions necessary for Death Panels.

    And Repubs have been trying to kill SocSec and (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by jawbone on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:34:13 AM EST
    Medicare since they were proposed, much less enacted.

    They will not pass a bill to restore cuts to either program. They will lie and lament the need for cuts, but...they're hands will be tied....

    Same with Obama.


    I think it's quite clear what Obama (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:40:20 AM EST
    will be giving us for Christmas this year . . .

    Ponies? (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:45:39 AM EST
    Are we finally getting our ponies?

    Good point (none / 0) (#15)
    by MKS on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:19:23 AM EST
    Can all trigger cuts be reversed?

    If so, then rejecting the Catfood Commission is a no brainer.......The Catfood Commission could institute changes that could be very hard to reverse.


    And (none / 0) (#13)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:12:09 AM EST
    revenue increases won't help the economy one bit. Revenue increases drain money from the economy. They are recessionary. What we need is the opposite, i.e. more spending.

    Ali Velshi (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:25:58 AM EST
    chief biz. correspondent on CNN, has repeatedly challenged this bit of conventional wisdom and repeatedly invited on air and via Twitter people to send him any evidence at all that this is the case.  Nobody has.

    Even Peter Morici, a prominent conservative economist from Univ. of Maryland, says the idea is hogwash.


    Well (none / 0) (#29)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:58:45 AM EST
    not even Paul Krugman understands it. Look at today's column. On the one hand he argues:

    The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. Pay no attention to those who invoke the confidence fairy, claiming that tough action on the budget will reassure businesses and consumers, leading them to spend more. It doesn't work that way, a fact confirmed by many studies of the historical record.

    I happen to agree with that statement. But later he says:

    And then there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. [emphasis added]

    So he's against spending cuts, but for revenue increases, even though they are the same thing mathematically and not opposites. And he wonders why Keynesianism is so out of favor these days. It's because it's chief advocate is able to advocate for two completely contradictory things at the same time!


    Oh, man (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:41:47 AM EST
    Spending cuts affect everybody, tax increases as contemplated would only affect the very well-to-do.  Totally different scenarios.  It's not just one big bowl of soup where what goes in exactly replaces what goes out.

    Um yeah (2.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:49:44 AM EST
    it is one big bowl of soup, which we call 'the economy'. Please show me the proof that a tax increase on the well to do will help the economy.

    You are engaging in the typical liberal mistake of confusing what helps the economy with what reduces the power of the rich. Tax increases against the rich will reduce their power, but will not help the economy one bit because there is no mechanism by which those increases can help the economy.

    The federal government does not need tax revenue in order to spend. Tax revenue is just money destroyed, nothing more. Money destruction cannot help a depressed economy, regardless of whose money got destroyed.


    How about this basic scenario (none / 0) (#67)
    by Faust on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:06:51 PM EST
    It's only taking it out of the economy if it's not put right back in. If there is some fellow who has 1M dollars and I take 20K of his money and "give" it to some person who is jobless or makes very little money by creating government work programs or tax credits or through some other mechanism that could re-distribute that money, then I don't see how you're taking the money out of the economy. You're taking it from one place (the income of a wealthy person) and putting it in another place (into the income of a non-wealthy person).

    Now we can argue all day about whether or not that's a good idea or efficient or whatever, but are you really saying that there are no circumstances where wealth can't just flat out be moved around inside of an economy through taxation and government spending? The argument here would be that the money will have more marginal utility to the poor peron, that they will be more likely to spend it than hang on to it etc, so I think that is what you have to attack as an idea because it seems otherwise obvious that taxation doesn't always "take money out of the economy."


    The problem with this (none / 0) (#77)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:19:49 PM EST
    argument is that this isn't what anyone is currently proposing. Obama wants to increase revenues AND cut spending at the same time. He is not proposing taking money from the rich and redistributing it to the poor. He wants to cut spending to the poor and take money from the rich at the same time.

    And yet liberals act as if these two things balance each other out. They lament the spending cuts but feel that Obama should 'at least' get revenue increases in return. You can only believe this is a good idea if you think the budget needs to be balanced or put into surplus, or if you think the punishment of spending cuts should be matched by the punishment of tax increases. But that's just matching punishment with punishment. It's not an offsetting position that will reduce the harm done to the economy by spending cuts.

    If liberals want to argue in favor of redistribution of money from the rich to the poor then by all means make the argument. But do not couch it behind the argument that it will help the economy.

    As the monopoly issuer of the currency, the federal government does not need one penny of tax revenue from anyone, rich or poor, in order to spend on programs that help the poor, the middle class, or anyone else for that matter. All it needs to do is spend the money, which it can do by just entering numbers into a computer. The federal government already has, and always will have, all the money it needs to help people.


    Ahh I see your point (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Faust on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 01:04:43 PM EST
    Yeah I was talking about ideal policy, not what people are actually arguing in D.C (which is just nuts generally at this point). I do think that the revenue argument is just about general "get to them to the bargaining table" idea, not about what ultimatley constitutes good economic policy, but I see what your argument is now.

    Krugman is struggling (none / 0) (#41)
    by waldenpond on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:19:01 AM EST
    Krugman is holding contradictory positions.  Krugman debates with himself that Obama is conservative yet continuously slips on Obama's support for the tea-bagger position.  Then Krugman argues Obama is conservative yet lost to the tea-baggers?   On occasion Krugman acts as if Obama has some sort of moderate side, it's annoying.

    Obama is three, three dreams in one: progressive, moderate and tea-bagger!  Everyone will vote for the everyman!

    I agree with Somerby.... we need better liberals.


    So which part of my statement (none / 0) (#59)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:55:59 AM EST
    is the conventional wisdom or the hogwash? It seems to me the argument that we need revenue increases IS the conventional wisdom on the left.

    So you're saying a prominent conservative economist agrees with me or disagrees with me? Your post isn't clear. If he disagrees with me, so what? Am I supposed to care?


    Not true (none / 0) (#31)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:00:27 AM EST

    ...revenue increases won't help the economy

    That is not true at all.  A strongly growing economy generates big revenue increases.  As just one example, letting the XL pipeline be built will generate both lots of jobs and much revenue.  


    You don't see the illogic (none / 0) (#33)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:03:48 AM EST
    in your comment do you? You've gone and put the cart in front of the horse.

    I argued that revenue increases won't help the economy, i.e. A (revenue increases) won't cause B (good economy). You then counter 'but B will cause A'. This in no way renders my statement untrue.


    The administration has (none / 0) (#80)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 12:49:22 PM EST

    The administration could do several things to both slow increase economic growth and thus increase revenue.

    1. Allow the XL pipeline to be built.
    2. Reverse the recent EPA decision to block oil production in the Arctic based on an icebreakers emissions.
    3. Reverse the permit revocation of the Arch coal mine.

    All three of things could be done quickly and will produce jobs and tax revenue.

    As a bonus, call off the NLRB's attempt to prevent Boeing from assembling the 787 in South Carolina.  

    My point is there is a good way to raise revenue ala Kennedy and Reagan, and the bad way as by Hoover and Carter.



    DK poll today (none / 0) (#14)
    by the capstan on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:16:30 AM EST
    Tea Party member Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) says that average Americans having trouble paying their bills need to suck it up and cancel their country club memberships. Have you had to cancel your country club membership yet?
        Yes, and it's dreadfully inconvenient having to sneak on the golf course at dusk
    19%    391 votes
        No. I am filfthy rich and my membership is in no danger
    4%    87 votes
        No. All my money is in yachts
    9%    196 votes
        Sorry, no time to vote, but I'll have my butler click on this choice when he gets done polishing the Porsche
    24%    478 votes
        I don't appreciate your tone, young man. No shiny dime for you.
    41%    821 votes

    | 1973 votes

    Look over there (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by waldenpond on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:52:31 AM EST
    Yes, those elitist conservatives mocking the riff raff while the elitist neo-liberals cut the riff raff safety net.  How dare they!

    and while the liberals are effing over the middle class DK makes a teabagger (shiny object) joke which makes this corrente cartoon even funnier. h/t GG  hahaha!


    Just remember (none / 0) (#16)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:24:20 AM EST
    Just remember that the president is starting to campaign, to raise a billion dollars, for re-election to a job where he is totally helpless.

    Once you've gotten really, really comfortable with that logical construct, everything else will all make sense.

    it is almost incomprehensible to me (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:52:08 AM EST
    that our choice is going to be Obama for four more years.  Where are the moderate populists? I really do not care what party they come from.

    If we elect Obama (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:05:31 AM EST
    we're in for 4 years of him plus 8-12 years of the Republican when Mr. Helpless doesn't get us out of the depre-recession.

    As things are going, tho, Obama won't be re-elected.


    Doesn't matter what Obama says (none / 0) (#27)
    by Farmboy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:54:21 AM EST
    The GOP won't pass anything.