Simpson Bowles As the New "Left"

Via Digby, here comes the Super Catfood Commission Dem team's embrace of Simpson-Bowles:

Together We Can Beat the Deficit

Over the past few months, in debating the debt ceiling and deficit reduction, that light of common cause has appeared to flicker at times in our nation's capital. As appointees to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—12 members of Congress charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade—we hope to remedy that.

How will they remedy that you ask? Take a guess:

Trillions of dollars in private capital are sitting on the sidelines because businesses are not yet confident enough in our economy or in their lawmakers to invest in the future. These families and businesses are demanding that this new committee work together to overcome the partisanship and brinksmanship of recent months and put our fiscal house in order.

The Standard & Poor's downgrade of America's credit rating was an unprecedented wake-up call for those who have for too long acted as if overheated rhetoric and dysfunction in Washington has no consequences for Main Street and working families. The shockwaves that roiled financial markets after the downgrade was a condemnation of Congress's inability to address the unsustainable trajectory of our current fiscal policies.

[...] None of us ran for office arguing that the United States should see its credit rating downgraded. Nobody ever campaigned in favor of mountains of debt or championed the idea that every American's interest rates should go up. And no one has ever gone into a debate pledging that China and India should own this economic century because we can't make our democracy work here at home.

This moment demands leadership, but it also demands consensus. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was set up to require bipartisanship, and we are going to work hard to achieve it. We know that each of us comes into this committee with clear ideas on the issues and what our priorities are for our nation. But a solution can only be found by merging these priorities across party lines and finding a solution that works for the American people.

We know that our goal is to reduce spending. But we also know that America faces not just a budget deficit but also a jobs deficit. Nobody on this committee would be happy if we reduced the budget deficit but even more Americans end up losing their jobs.

So we are ready to get to work with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to report out a balanced plan, with the shared sacrifices this moment requires. One that moves past the partisan rancor, puts our nation back on strong fiscal footing, and allows us to continue shining bright in the world in this generation and for generations to come.

(Emphasis supplied.) Pete Peterson for the win!

Will this work politically though? Will the approbation of the Beltway Media matter in the end? I have serious doubts.

Yep, it's the economy stupid.

Speaking for me only

< The Imperative Of Reelecting An Impotent President? | Obama Authorizes Work Permits in Lieu of Deportation >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    $2 Dollar gas, b!tches! (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by observed on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:52:01 PM EST

    Do you comment at Zerohedge :)? (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 07:59:39 PM EST
    I think I just threw up in my mouth - a lot. (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:55:11 PM EST
    And I expect to be doing more of that, on a more regular basis, as this thing moves forward to send a lot of lives backward and sideways.  And does nothing to improve the economy.


    Me, too, Anne (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:01:17 PM EST
    Me, too.

    Well, Zorba, i may need to move, for (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by caseyOR on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:10:57 PM EST
    real, to your mountaintop. As it stands, I am barely not homeless. If these fools screw up Medicare and/or Social Security (this includes chained CPI) well, I won't be able to eke out my rent. And, as my current home is a studio apartment in a basement, my only downsize option is my car.

    I don't have a sleeping bag, but could probably pick one up at the used sporting goods store. So, maybe I could sleep in your barn?


    We have several sleeping bags, casey (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:24:11 PM EST
    As well as a whole lot of blankets.  And there's lots of hay in the barn, enough for insulation and a relatively soft place to sleep.  Lots of food here, too, sweetie.  The way things are going, I may have several of my relatives here, as well.  And if I hear the words "shared sacrifice" one more time from anyone's mouth, without talking about the wealthy also sharing the sacrifice, I'm going to......I don't know, exactly, but I think it may be past time for taking to the streets in a serious way.  That's all I'm willing to say, for now.

    You need to find some people with (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:30:44 PM EST
    building skills to expand the living quarters of the Republic of Zorba.



    I always felt (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by CST on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:55:13 PM EST
    that if I were stuck in a "(wo)man vs wild" situation, with a friend, I would take building duty and let them deal with food.

    Seriously I've watched that show a lot. I have a degree in civil engineering, and I've actually built a few things in my life.

    So if you need someone who can put up a shack with nothing but some vine, sticks, and ferns, I'm your gal!  Or at least my overinflated sense of self worth tells me I am :)


    We don't even need the (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:10:15 PM EST
    vines, sticks, and ferns, CST.  We have 40 acres of woods, and several chain saws, saws, axes, hatchets, etc.  (I have said before that we're prepared for almost any eventuality, and we are.  Wood stoves, wood-fired smokers, and so on.)

    You know, I joke around (5.00 / 6) (#9)
    by caseyOR on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:48:21 PM EST
    about moving to Zorba's mountaintop or about relocating to the high seas with the pirate crew, but I am quite scared about my immediate future.

    My life is very subsistence now. Even with Medicare, and thank god  for Medicare, the appendectomy I had in May and now this fractured ankle, have eaten up the tiny bit of cushion I have been trying to squirrel away.

    My SS check arrives on the third of each month. Right now that is a little over two weeks away. I have exactly $42.00 to pay for food, gas, anything I might need to purchase until the third of September. I'd like to say that this is an unusually bad month, but it is pretty typical.

    I am writing this not to engender responses of pity, but to illustrate how tennuous are the lives  many, many people in our country. People depend on those safety net programs for survival.

    All too often the discussion, even the discussion here, gets caught up in the game of politics, the 11th dimensional chess and WORM and the electoral horse-race handicapping.  People either are ignorant of, or just don't care about, the very real people who's lives do hang in the balance here.

    Sadly, I believe Obama falls into the latter category. There is just no way he does not know the damage his policies and actions are causing. I have come to believe that he simply does not consider people at the bottom, those who are struggling, as worth saving. That's a harsh conclusion to reach, but there it is.

    The most generous spin I can put on this would be that Obama and his appointees and way too many Dems in Congress ( goes w/o saying that the Repubs suck), have decided that the people at the bottom, the old and the sick and the long-term unemployed and the children who live with them, simply must be sacrificed for some imagined greater good. It's a horrific stance, but the only one that makes any sense to me.

    So, when someone tries to convince me that a Republican president would be so much worse, well, all I can say is "Yeah, riiiiight."


    I agree (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:12:00 PM EST
    Too little discussion on the real world repercussions of the policies that are under discussion.

    In fact, too often they are dismissed or put into the context of if they aren't hurting you right this minute, what are you b!tching about.

    Or gee, these cuts won't happen for another year or two and aren't too draconian. Gee, isn't it wonderful that draconian is A-O.K. just so long as it is not too draconian. And gee, isn't it wonderful that every bad policy is scheduled to hit after the 2012 election.

    Depressing to see what is happening in this country and feeling powerless to change the government that is focused on striping everything from the poor and the middle class so that they can to the coffers of those who already have more than they will ever need.  


    They have not even (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:20:06 PM EST
    given a thought to how these policies will affect a whole lot of Americans.  The poor, the elderly, the disabled, even the average working person.  There is far too much concern for how this will affect the rich, the financial markets, the corporations......you know, the people who give lots of money to our elected representatives.  Never mind the rest of us.

    They've written us off (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 01:33:53 AM EST
    very simply. Collateral damage.

    I've seriously thought about it too (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:19:59 PM EST
    with friends and family. I think the tail-end boomers like me are going to end up in communes. If I had money to invest in real estate I would buy some property someplace and start setting one up. Something different than current retirement communities - I would use a common building for kitchen, dining, and 'den' or entertainment areas, with small cabins for individual living quarters. It would be nice, what I have in mind.

    They used (none / 0) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:27:12 PM EST
    to have those here in the south. Somebody had a house and elderly people would live there and it was similar to a boarding house. They were called Old Folks Homes.

    I completely (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:25:43 PM EST
    understand where you are coming from. I'm in the same boat. The reality of the situation is that we're on a fixed income too. The entire middle class is on a "fixed income" because nobody is getting raises right now.

    That's me at the end of every month too. (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by trillian on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:58:30 PM EST
    ...and they want to cut this?

    Well, if money is speech... (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by desertswine on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 08:49:47 PM EST
    then I am mute.

    Thank you for sharing the reality (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 10:01:33 PM EST
    It can't be easy writing it out in black and white like that, but we need more of this.  I can know on an analytical level that this is going on, but hearing the real stories changes it...it becomes something that I can think and feel too.

    Casey, I think (none / 0) (#31)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 01:32:11 AM EST
    the way to go, increasingly, is to have to give up one's privacy and join up with others in more or less the same boat to reduce expenses.  At least, that's what I've been thinking as I think ahead a bit to how I'm going to survive when I can't work anymore, or no one will pay me anymore.

    Don't know your situation, obviously, but there's a program here in VT that matches up elders with a home but not much income and increasing frailty with younger people with no home but lots of energy.  One of my elderly neighbors was able to stay in her home after joining up with a terrific younger woman from the Caribbean somewhere, who could share some expenses in return for a place to live and work around the house the elderly lady could no longer do for herself.

    Not ideal, for sure, but doable.


    honestly (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by CST on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:03:49 PM EST
    when I see the words "shared sacrifice" I don't even think "the weathy need to be sharing in that sacrifice", I think "what on earth do people at the bottom have left to give?"

    As for "taking to the streets" - see my post in the other thread.  Other groups have managed this and actually made some impact.  Why is it that on economic issues, the left can't be heard?  Maybe we're not organized enough as a group, I don't know.  But it's something to consider I think.  In a way maybe we are too used to organizing ourselves along more traditional lines - race, gender, religion, orientation, etc... So we're not set up for a mass, economic movement.  Just some food for thought.


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:23:29 PM EST
    your last sentence says it all. The country as whole hasn't been organized around economic issues really in decades. Hopefully that is changing. Places like WI give me hope.

    Add to that (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 01:25:00 AM EST
    the words "tough choices."  Smoke comes out of my ears every time I hear some pol talk about "tough choices," meaning cutting my chances of survival.

    This is even worse than predicted (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:06:22 PM EST
    With Simpson/Bowles firmly established as the starting point of the Democratic position, the outcome will be even worse than most people could imagine. Even those here who were the most against Obama's agenda, thought that the horrible Simpson/Bowles recommendations would be the compromise position. Obama and the Dems never fail to surprise by moving even further right than our nightmares would suggest.  

    Bye, bye domestic and safety net programs. Hello more tax cuts for corporations and the top 1 - 2%.

    We are so screwed.

    Yep. (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by huzzlewhat on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:57:39 PM EST
    I predicted that Simpson-Bowles would become the new center, in response to the Ryan plan. Who could have thought I was being overly optimistic?

    Yup. (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:59:58 PM EST
    The "center" has moved far to the right.

    The new left? Really? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:49:51 PM EST
    Cuz after Anita Hill, anytime I hear or read the word Simpson and it has anything to do with politics I throw up a little in my mouth!!!!!!!!!!!  Can this be the one time when the pink skinned chimp was stupid and pathetic and everything that a human being should never ever be?

    Will this work politically? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by TJBuff on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 08:18:10 AM EST
    My opinion is the WH political team have their heads so far up their asses they can count their fillings. But what do I know?

    in theory, maybe not (none / 0) (#39)
    by CST on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 08:34:28 AM EST
    in practice, I think yes. People who hate this probably weren't gonna vote for him anyway.  Then there are the people in the middle who may or may not like it, but aren't basing their decision on it.  Then there are those who really really care.  Obama needs them to come out for him in november, en masse.

    So it may not have a majority of the population behind it, I don't actually know.  But I believe it will have a beneficial political impact for Obama.


    oh dear (none / 0) (#40)
    by CST on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 08:35:07 AM EST
    scratch that whole comment, I thought I was in the immigration thread.

    Well, I was with you until the (none / 0) (#41)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 08:50:27 AM EST
    last sentence, lol - but, hey, it's Friday, it's been a long week, who knows what the heck is going to happen in the markets today (or any day, lately), so I think we can all be forgiven for thinking we're somewhere we're not!

    Speaking of markets, I just got an e-mail alert that says "Wall St. showing signs of selling exhaustion;" can't recall ever hearing it put that way.  


    Market responding to (none / 0) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 08:57:51 AM EST
    a "policy-induced slowdown."

    Not because of our deficit but because our government has decided that austerity is the way to go. Guess those 1 -2% of uber-rich people aren't spending enough to offset the fact that the lower 98% won't have any left after the government gets done fleecing them.


    it's been a long week (none / 0) (#43)
    by CST on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 09:15:28 AM EST
    summer, year I guess.

    This policy induced slow down kills me.

    Sometimes I wonder what on earth people in congress are thinking.  The "political reality" of the situation is they are throwing us all down a dark path and they are all more likely to lose their jobs over it than if we were headed somewhere good.

    At this point the market is just responding to reality.  Which means we will finally be experiencing some "shared" sacrifice.  In other words, this is good for no one.  Not the rich, the poor, middle class, and certainly not for congresspeople who want to keep their job.


    This is along the same lines as to how (none / 0) (#6)
    by Buckeye on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:20:32 PM EST
    Obama has been governing.  According to Gallup, Obama's approval rating over how he is handling the economy (the only one that matters) is now down to 26%!!!

    What? (none / 0) (#23)
    by Edger on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 07:40:21 PM EST
    Over the past few months, in debating the debt ceiling and deficit reduction, that light of common cause has appeared to flicker at times in our nation's capital. As appointees to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction--12 members of Congress charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade--we hope to remedy that.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#25)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 08:27:38 PM EST
    The common cause:  To screw the little people.

    I hope anyone here (none / 0) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 09:21:33 PM EST
    Who is having difficulty making ends meet has been in touch with their Dept. of Social Services in their respective states.

    I have written here before about the elderly gentleman who has fallen on hard times, and who I've been helping out, and as such, have become somewhat familiar with the help New York has to offer for those in need. Frankly, I've been quite impressed at the many programs available.

    I got involved this past winter when he told me he had no propane to heat his home.  I took him to The Office of the Aging, and in 5 minutes he got authorization for $615. They even made the phone call for him and arranged the delivery. After that he was approved for $615 more. In looking over the menu of services they provide, I became even more impressed.

    Food stamps is another program that's very easy to get. You can get into that program without even having to go in person; it can be handled over the phone.

    Also, I found the Salvation Army extremely helpful. This gentleman had received a shut-off notice from his electric company, and after a visit to the S.A. they offered to negotiate a payment plan for him with the utility and it turned out to be very, very lenient.

    My point is that there is help out there (at least for now) and I hope no one here is that stupid that they  let their "pride" prevent them from receiving it.

    The things I mentioned were only the tip of the iceberg. Please, please, your first step is to pick up the phone and call "the office of the aging"  and get started.

    That is a good way to go for those (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by caseyOR on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 09:29:53 PM EST
    who qualify for assistance. Often, if you qualify for food stamps, you automatically qualify for other aid. I know people who, because they get food stamps also get help paying utilities including the phone bill. And that is a huge help to them.

    Unfortunately, if you are like me and your monthly check is over the amount that qualifies you for food stamps, well, too bad for you. I am just a few dollars over the cut-off, but over the limit is over the limit.

    So, it is definitely worth checking into, but you can still be dirt poor and not able to make ends meet and still not qualify for assistance.


    Really (none / 0) (#33)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 01:37:38 AM EST
    The income limit for help in most states is basically destitute and living on the streets.  But hey, folks are better off than the poor in, say, Somalia!  After all, you have cat food to eat and a TV!!

    A huge 'wrinkle' in the system that's (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 02:05:38 AM EST
    going to rear it's ugly head even more is, lack of dependents in the home. With more over 45-50yo not being employable (according to our new reality), aide is not as forthcoming. Their kids are over 18, and that ends some help. In Ca, certain help is no longer available, such as the CalWorks program. You're only qualified for General Aide. Max, $317 per month. Goes down with any incoming income. As does food aide (max $200 pm). Try and get by on that after your unemployment runs out while trying to stay in an area where you have a slight chance of getting a job vs no chance elsewhere in the state. . .

    Have you rechecked lately? (none / 0) (#35)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 02:12:17 AM EST
    With your unexpected medical costs, you may be qualified for emergency food aide or something along those lines.

    Sending my best wishes to you. Try and hang in the best you can. I know many are with you.


    No, I don't qualify for (none / 0) (#36)
    by caseyOR on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 02:22:58 AM EST
    anything. I am lucky in that the surgeon who took my appendix out is fine with my making monthly payments. If he wanted the whole thing at once or even wanted bigger payments than I can make, well, that would not be good.

    I start physical therapy for my ankle on Monday. Here's hoping I don't need too many sessions with the physical therapist because those bills add up. I must  say, I will be thrilled to get out of this gigantic air cast.

    I look at the medical expenses I have accrued this year, and they are many, and then I think about Jeff facing cancer treatments and the expense of that and, man, my heart just goes out to him. It is hard enough to be ill, seriously ill. When fretting about the expenses is added  to one's worries, well, it's just not right.

    You know, there outta be a law.
    We are the only nation in the developed world that puts its people through this torture. And I don't understand why. How does it make us a better, stronger, more competitive nation?


    Damn, you would think unexpected medical (none / 0) (#37)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 02:54:35 AM EST
    would qualify one for help if needed in this oh so great country . . .

    on the PT, take notes and see how much you can do on your own and/or with a friend helping. What I get about PT is, inner strength and commitment makes great progress. And I'm pretty sure ya gots that! :) I'm counting on you as my food supply/growing buddy on the ship along with Zorba.


    So much for the (none / 0) (#44)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 20, 2011 at 05:30:52 PM EST
    Democratic Party and so much for the nation.

    The Party has been changing for several decades and now any resemblance to the Party of old is gone.

    I've seen evidence at the local level as well.

    A month back I received an email from our county Vice Chairman that began with what we'd expect from the former party.  Half way through a complete turnaround occurred and in the end it urged support of Simpson-Bowles.  The last half was full of Republican style talking points.

    They're trying to talk us into dropping long held belief, understanding, ignore history, defy common sense and flip over into blatant Conservatism.

    The nation is screwed on a grand scale.