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A Non-Pragmatic View Of Tax Policy

Matt Yglesias writes:

[W]hen its cheaper to pay for things by borrowing money than by taxing productive activity, its pretty foolish not to step up your borrowing. The issue we ought to be debating is whether we should increase borrowing by cutting taxes or increase borrowing by hiking spending.

This is obviously true. It would be the right economic policy to both cut taxes and borrow to increase government spending. But that's not going to happen in our political world of "governments are like households." The choice for Democrats is whether we will cut taxes AND reduce spending. That's why I oppose cutting taxes now - because cutting taxes is less effective stimulus than government spending. A pragmatic view of our choices makes this clear. Yglesias asks "With the House controlled by Republicans and the White House controlled by Democrats, wed end up compromising on a mix of the two. Instead were talking deficit reduction. Why?" Because Democrats, led by the President, played into the deficit scare is why. For some reason, people don't like to say that. But that's the main reason.

Speaking for me only

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    The president will cut taxes (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:26:59 AM EST
    and pay for the cuts through cuts to domestic and safety net programs. That is the agenda he has been pushing from the beginning. He has talked about letting the Bush/Obama tax cuts expire but he has also supported "fixing" the tax code by reducing the marginal rates for corporations and the top bracket from 35% to 23 - 29%.

    The best of both worlds for corporations, the rich and to prove that government is the problem not the solution. Of course, this is a progressive president pursuing a progressive agenda. :-(  

    We will see riots (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:36:53 AM EST
    And maybe we should.

    Parent
    Maybe we should (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:47:50 AM EST
    but I doubt that will happen for various reasons.

    Parent
    I don't (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:02:29 AM EST
    Groups like the tea party are only an avenue for expressing rage.  Granted they are sort irrational in their blame and solutions and likely of the most nuts among us, but their rage is considered legit. A little more time and pressure and all sorts of rage will be considered legit.  Too bad nobody would address the underlying economic factors though before we got to this place on this road. Obama chose to listen to the wrong people though about what should be done when he had the power to do so much more.  Oh well, can't change any of that now but I see a lot of unrest in the streets in our futures.

    Parent
    What happens when the government (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by observed on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:36:38 AM EST
    takes away "their" Medicare and SS??

    Parent
    Heh (none / 0) (#92)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:59:10 PM EST
    Well (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:28:58 AM EST
    and cutting taxes also segues into less spending because then there's less money to spend etc. So the spiral continues.

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by TJBuff on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:32:14 AM EST
    1. The wealthy want more tax cuts.
    2. Cutting the deficit enables that.
    3. Politicians pay attention only to the wealthy.

    QED.

    Sadly (none / 0) (#98)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:44:33 PM EST
    you're right.

    The super duper group that will pressure the super duper committee wants tax cuts at the top.

    Th only voices audible in Congress are the voices with the money.

    Parent

    Really? (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by koshembos on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:23:03 AM EST
    Cutting taxes sound like a crazy idea. Taxes in the US are already the lowest in Western world despite claims to the contrary. We need to raise taxes on the rich (e.g. Clinton) and strengthen the safety net and add borrowing to invest in infrastructure, education, increase SS payments.

    We also have to cut the military at least in half and stop the waring nonsense.

    BTD's analysis is exactly right (none / 0) (#29)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:50:41 AM EST
    Both on the economics (a classic Keynesian approach with which I agree) and on the politics.

     

    Parent

    No, on tax cuts... (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Romberry on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:05:26 PM EST
    ...BTD's analysis is exactly wrong.

    "It ain't what we know that hurts us. It's what we know that just ain't so." - Pogo

    Parent

    Agree 100% (none / 0) (#99)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:51:40 PM EST
    I may have to install some sort of reinforcing mechanism around my head to keep it from exploding when I hear the phrase 'tax cut.'

    Parent
    Based on what evidence? (2.00 / 1) (#10)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:09:20 AM EST
    "Because Democrats, led by the President, played into the deficit scare is why. For some reason, people don't like to say that. But that's the main reason."

    Poll after poll shows that Americans want to cut spending.  Those polls have been consistent since before Obama took office. The analysis given ignores

    (1) the fact that government spending has been unpopular for years (well before Obama);

    (2) the fact that there is another political party with media and a message and the ability to talk about their position that believes that government spending is bad and, because of the simplicity of their position (low taxes/small government) can more effectively market their position.

    How can one answer Yglesias' question without mentioning the republicans or commonly held public sentiment.

    Answer? One cannot.  Any answer that omits those issues as factors assumes that democrats are magicians and that the deep seated belief in Americans for a smaller more streamlined government is a mirage.

    It has never been more clear that the enemy is the  GOP but you wouldn't know it from the focus on the dems for not changing everything despite the fact that around 45% of the country does not agree and won't agree regardless of how much you want Obama to "fight" whatever that means.

    The bully pulpit worked there (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:15:38 AM EST
    Deficit Reduction (2.00 / 1) (#17)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:25:47 AM EST
    has been discussed from the pulpit by every POTUS since Ron Reagan in earnest, including the 8 years that we had a dem in office under Clinton when he kicked off his presidency by signing the OBRA in 1993 and told us (loudly) that deficit reduction had to be the centerpiece of our economic plans moving forward.

    We go from Reagan to Bush to Clinton to Bush, with all of the presidents saying pretty much the same thing and then, when the deficit is at its height, you demand that Obama and the Dems reverse 30 years of pushing, immediately after passing the largest spending bill in history by . . . what talking loudly, pounding a podium, telling people who believe Obama is a socialist already that bigger government is better?

    No.

    The anti-government attitude is here to stay.  The sooner we find ways of achieving our goals despite that fact the better.  We need to take the same tactic that conservatives use on issues like abortion. Attacking head on will result in failure. We need to start at the edges and work towards the core. Smart, common sense legislation that is too easily understandable for the GOP to torpedo easily.

    If you want/wanted Obama to wage an all out war against deficit reduction, you wanted him to fight and yell a lot and then lose.  Which does have its advantages but one of them is not obtaining the massive stimulus that I think we all believe is required.

    It does make us feel better though.  I get that.

    Parent

    Obama was the best at it (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:27:35 AM EST
    since Herbert Hoover.

    Meanwhile, Bill Clinton left a surplus.

    Parent

    "anti-govt. attitude is here to stay" (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:14:59 AM EST
    God forbid a Democratic President lead and point out the self defeating nature of this attitude.  But no.  Apparently, like you, this President subscribes whole-heartedly to this "pragmatic" view of American voters.

    The current trajectory will certainly lead us to a point in the near future where the Government is the only thing that can bail us all out.  Obama could have gotten out in front of the curve and headed this off but he has delegated the "recovery" to those most repsonisble for the recession.  These policies have failed and will fail us more as time goes on.

    We are on a disatrous road & I too expect social unrest within a few short years.  Neither party offers solutions or even, dare I say it, hope.  

    Parent

    Wow. Just....wow. (5.00 / 5) (#51)
    by Faust on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:20:38 AM EST
    "The anti-government attitude is here to stay.  The sooner we find ways of achieving our goals despite that fact the better.  We need to take the same tactic that conservatives use on issues like abortion. Attacking head on will result in failure. We need to start at the edges and work towards the core. Smart, common sense legislation that is too easily understandable for the GOP to torpedo easily."

    What an unmitigated load of garbage.

    The tactic that conservatives use on abortion is to nibble away at the edges of issues like abortion? Holy *hit man you are truly delusional.

    If Obama was as clear about progressive tax policy as the GOP is on its anti-abortion position every progressive here would be overcome with joy.

    Parent

    this paragraph is a winner (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by Left of the Left on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 12:46:49 PM EST
    in so many ways


    The anti-government attitude is here to stay.  The sooner we find ways of achieving our goals despite that fact the better.

    Better for who besides Obama? because in order to sell government services you must combat any anti-government attitude. An unchallenged lie becomes the truth. The only person this is better for is Obama, surely not the public.

    We need to take the same tactic that conservatives use on issues like abortion. Attacking head on will result in failure.

    This is a serious break with reality.

    We need to start at the edges and work towards the core. Smart, common sense legislation that is too easily understandable for the GOP to torpedo easily.

    And how exactly do you start at the edges and work towards the core as you sign onto republican ideas and go out and sell them? One must be in opposition to something in order to work against it.

    Btw, odd how polls and public opinion are binding and limiting (like on the deficit), except when they arent, like on a public option or single payer. That it's to Obamas benefit each and every time is simply a coincidence I'm sure.

    Parent

    Actually the public wants to raise (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by observed on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:41:59 AM EST
    taxes.
    People always say they want government spending reduced,but not in a specific area.


    Parent
    Let's play polls shall we (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:50:49 AM EST
    Polls that Obama has ignored in making policy decisions:

    New Poll: 77 Percent Support "Choice" Of Public Option

    Public Option: Polls said YES. Obama traded it away in a back room deal.

    Entitlement Cuts Opposed By Americans, Poll Finds

    Cuts to Entitlement Programs: Polls say NO. Obama has relentlessly pursued cutting entitlement programs.

    Tax the rich! Polls show a majority want to tax millionaires, leave Medicare, Medicaid alone

    Tax the rich: Polls say tax the rich and leave entitlements alone. Obama's tax cuts are more generous to the rich than the Bush tax cuts. He is on record favoring the tax plans contained in the Cat Food Commission Recommendations and the Gang of Six which lowers the marginal rate for corporations and the upper tax brackets. Once again he has relentlessly pursued cutting entitlement programs.

    CNN Poll: Americans split on cutting government spending

    According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday, the number of Americans who want more government spending on domestic programs equals the number who want the government to spend less. Overall, 49 percent say the federal government should spend more money for domestic programs; that figure is up 17 percentage points since 1994. Another 49 percent saying less should be spent on domestic programs.

    Obama has been extremely willing to ignore polls that favor policies that help the average citizen.

    Parent

    The polls have always (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:54:03 AM EST
    shown--even today--that the public prefers job creation over deficit reduction.

    Framing the issue as protecting and creating jobs wins out......And, yes, government jobs are still jobs....

    Parent

    Americans also keep being told that (5.00 / 5) (#33)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:06:27 AM EST
    the country's finances are just like their own; sure, Americans can relate to that - we all know what it means when our own spending is far in excess of our income.  It's scary.

    And just the thing to get Americans on board with an agenda that, for most of them, will prove to be adverse to their own interests.  You know, kind of like the whole fear campaign that took us into war in Iraq.

    Too bad there's no comparison between the US's finances and our household budgets.

    And this:

    the fact that there is another political party with media and a message and the ability to talk about their position that believes that government spending is bad and, because of the simplicity of their position (low taxes/small government) can more effectively market their position.

    is almost too funny.

    As many times as you remind people that Republicans want to cut spending and make government smaller, you cannot escape the fact that this president has been pounding that same drum since before he took office; it's not dueling messages - it's the same message.  We don't have a Democrat on one shoulder telling us that we need to spend more to get out of this mess, and a Republican on the other shoulder telling us we have to cut spending to get out of this mess, we have both parties saying the same damn thing.

    The fact that other presidents have spoken of the evil of deficits is no excuse for why this president decided he was going to make government the enemy.  Making government the enemy has only served to neutralize the differences between the two parties - had Obama used the many examples of government's ability to transform people's lives for the better, had he spent more time talking about how the spending policies of FDR worked, he would have moved the GOP into stark and obvious contrast, and I believe the Democratic view would have won.

    But he chose not to make the GOP and their insane policies the enemy - he chose, instead, to take on those policies, package them in something mature and reasonable, and use it to convince people that he could do what the GOP wanted, only better.

    Strip out the names and party affiliations, and I would defy you to distinguish Obama's policies from those of the GOP.  

    Parent

    Like a household budget (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by sj on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:21:07 AM EST
    The analogy he is using by implication is even worse than you mention.  He wants to use a household budget where everything is paid for in cash.  You want a house?  A mortgage?  You mean... borrow?  That's debt, man!  You can't afford that!  Investment? Whaddayatalkin about?  You don't have any money to invest!  That's reserved for stockholders -- whoever they are.

    And sorry, I won't take up your challenge to draw a distinction between O's policies and those of the GOP.

    Parent

    True, and household (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by KeysDan on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 02:49:14 PM EST
    finances are not just revenues and expenses, they include assets as part of net worth (e.g. home equity, furniture, autos, cash in bank, stocks).  The federal finances include our assets as well (e.g., parks, natural resources, federal buildings, oil leases...)

    Parent
    Yep (none / 0) (#85)
    by sj on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 04:13:46 PM EST
    But doncha worry.  They're busy working out how to sell more of those national assets.  Relentlessly and on multiple fronts.

    Assets?  We don't need no stinkin' assets.

    Parent

    And ABG won't take that challenge, either, (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 04:45:07 PM EST
    but for different reasons - you already know there's little to set them apart; ABG would have a hard time making the case that Obama's policies are Democratic in nature.  Which is why he will ignore it.

    And you're so right about the failure to take home mortgages into account - to do so would skew the analogy all to hell, so it has to have been intentional.  Too bad we're not all as dumb as these people seem to think we are.

    Oh, how I would love to see someone at a town hall put Obama on the hot seat over this...

    And, this just in from the new Deficit Commission:

    When the Catfood Commission II was put together, the goal for the panel was to come up with $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction solutions, on top of the $900 billion already enacted in the debt limit deal. The reason $1.5 trillion was the target is that, under the terms of the deal, the debt limit would be allowed to rise by $1.5 trillion if the Catfood Commission II recommendations could be enacted.

    But President Obama immediately set out to explain that $1.5 trillion was not enough. He said he would put forward a specific plan that would reduce the deficit well beyond that $1.5 trillion and deliver it to the committee.

    And now, the Democrats on the committee are following the leader of their party.

    The key dilemma facing President Obama and Congressional Democrats is that Republicans are wholly unwilling to support any new job-creating spending projects -- even projects with bipartisan support -- unless they're offset with spending cuts or savings elsewhere in the budget.

    Thus, Democrats on the new joint deficit Super Committee will seek more than the $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction they've been tasked with finding, in order to help offset some of those costs.

    "All of us would like to set as a target for ourselves even more than $1.5 trillion," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who's also the top House Democrat on the Budget Committee, told reporters at a Tuesday Capitol press conference.

    Xavier Becerra, another member of the committee, agrees with Van Hollen, and pronounced himself open to the "cutting of services... so long as...there's proof that the proposal will lead to job growth and deficit reduction."

    Basically, Becerra and Van Hollen are trying to deliver the original grand bargain, the one that calls for job creating stimulus ideas in the near term balanced out by deficit reduction, including to cherished programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, in the long term. This is what the Administration thought it would get when they enacted the stimulus, and followed up with a focus on the deficit (including in the Affordable Care Act, which was very deficit-focused). Then they switched to a "balanced" deficit reduction plan as the grand bargain. But with that having failed, we're going back to the initial plan: a few shekels for jobs now, and a torching of the social safety net later. Van Hollen and Becerra stressed that they still want revenue increases in the plan somewhere, but I imagine they will value some job creation more than tax increases.

    So, apparently, there is a bully pulpit, it is being used by the president; too bad he's not using it to our benefit, huh?

    Parent

    ugh (none / 0) (#87)
    by sj on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 05:14:10 PM EST
    just ... ugh

    Parent
    These comments (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:31:55 AM EST
    always remind me of the trope "America is a center-right nation" that progressive blogs are always fighting.  Your use of polls always ignores the popularity of government-run programs like Medicare and Social Security.  That is the cognitive dissonance in the American public that Democrats are supposed to be able to exploit.  There are plenty of polls that program by program contradict the idea that Americans dislike government spending.  

    The GOP says "government spending."  We say "social safety net" or whatever.

    Half of what progressives mean by fight is Obama adopting the right language.  Dem terminology is going to be a lot more successful at forwarding a Democratic agenda.

    Parent

    Also (2.00 / 1) (#13)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:17:05 AM EST
    Obama and the Dems passed the single largest stimulus package in history within a month of taking office.

    Very easy to say that it should have been an additional $300 billion or $500 billion while forgetting that one of Obama's first acts was to sign something that had never been done on that scale.

    Parent

    Yes (5.00 / 6) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:19:51 AM EST
    Very easy.

    On January 7, 2009, the President said that he chose not to go big on stimulus.

    It's easy for me to remind you of that.

    Parent

    He (2.00 / 1) (#19)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:28:13 AM EST
    could not have passed the stimulus you believe was required.

    I can't say that more directly.  It was not possible.  He was at the edges of what congress would allow with $800B.

    And again, it seems grossly unfair to treat the biggest stimulus in history as some sort of half hearted effort, particularly right in the midst of the corporate bailouts.

    Parent

    I feel so sorry (5.00 / 5) (#22)
    by sj on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:35:30 AM EST
    for ABG's Obama.  He can't do anything and is completely helpless.  His only recourse is to be tossed about by whoever feels like doing the kicking this time.

    Parent
    I'm curious (5.00 / 7) (#25)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:40:19 AM EST
    If the presidency is such a weak ineffectual powerless office, why are you so afraid a republican might win next year?

    Parent
    The President is not (2.00 / 1) (#36)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:33:29 AM EST
    weak or powerless.  That is not the argument at all.

    He is not helpless. He has tools. But on the other hand, the idea that Obama could magically make Blue Dogs and the entire GOP bow down to his demands is silly as well.

    There is a middle ground of reasonable expectation.  That's the point that Chait and others are making.  Perhaps Obama has failed at those reasonable expectations.  I concede that that might be true.  But that is not the argument being used by many against him.  

    Parent

    Heh (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:43:16 AM EST
    Yeah right. That's what Chait said.

    What a bunch of horsesh*t.

    Parent

    Good point (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:51:32 AM EST
    George Bush was not weak or ineffectual or powerless either.

    Rather he was extremely effective for eight years at getting exactly what he wanted, whenever he wanted.

    He accomplished everything he set out to accomplish, in spite of - or was it because of? - a Democratic Party that for the last two years of his presidency controlled a majority in both the House and the Senate for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.

    But I guess Obama was, in your words, "at the edges of what congress would allow"?

    I think I see your point, ABG... it's not the presidency that is weak or powerless, it's Obama?

    That finally puts this argument to rest, I suppose...

    Returning the Democratic Party to the glory days of house and senate control that it had until Obama and the party were unable to convince enough people that their batsh*t crazy drive for bipartisanship with batsh*t crazy republicans was the only way to go, is the only way to go. There is no other reasonable way to go.

    There were huge socially progressive strides made towards thinking about gradually thinking about progressively moving forward by Obama and the Democratic Party during that time, and the only thing holding them back is that not enough people clapped loudly enough.

    The voters predicament and the collapsing economy is all the fault of the voters.

    Keep On Rockin' In The Free World: Give Obama and the Dems Some Credit For A Change




    Parent
    Counter (2.00 / 1) (#44)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:54:45 AM EST
    I agree with Chait:

    "That kind of analysis, however, just feels wrong to liberals, who remember Bush steamrolling his agenda through Congress with no such complaints about obstructionism. Salon's Glenn Greenwald recently invoked "the panoply of domestic legislation -- including Bush tax cuts, No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Part D prescription drug entitlement -- that Bush pushed through Congress in his first term."

    Yes, Bush passed his tax cuts -- by using a method called reconciliation, which can avoid a filibuster but can be used only on budget issues. On No Child Left Behind and Medicare, he cut deals expanding government, which the right-wing equivalents of Greenwald denounced as a massive sellout. Bush did have one episode where he tried to force through a major domestic reform against a Senate filibuster: his crusade to privatize Social Security. Just as liberals urge Obama to do today, Bush barnstormed the country, pounding his message and pressuring Democrats, whom he cast as obstructionists. The result? Nada, beyond the collapse of Bush's popularity."


    Parent

    Well, I've already agreed with you (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:17:04 AM EST
    that Obama is the problem, not the presidency.

    But thanks for reiterating it.

    Parent

    Ha-ha-ha (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:26:47 AM EST
    The difference is that if Obama had used the bully pulpit, he would have used it to push programs that were popular with the voters, as opposed to Bush who attempted to push privatization, which was NOT popular with voters.

    The idea of the bully pulpit is to rally voters to push on their reps.

    Your argument here is just plain stupid.

    Parent

    Oh brother (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:13:00 PM EST
    his crusade to privatize Social Security. Just as liberals urge Obama to do today, Bush barnstormed the country, pounding his message and pressuring Democrats, whom he cast as obstructionists. The result? Nada, beyond the collapse of Bush's popularity."

    This is Chait at his dumbest.  Well, maybe I shouldn't use the superlative with such haste.  I'm confident I can find more in the article.

    Bush was barnstorming with his foot firmly afixed to the 3rd rail of American politics.  Of course he was going to fail.  If Obama barnstormed for something like job creation ...

    Oh, I almost forgot.  There is no right-wing equivalent of Glenn Greenwald.  I had a feeling I was too quick with the superlative.

    Parent

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:42:29 AM EST
    You say it a lot.

    Funny thing is you have way of actually knowing this.


    Parent

    Would have been nice ... (5.00 / 6) (#46)
    by Yman on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:59:26 AM EST
    ... for you Obama-supporters to let everyone know how helpless he would be before the 2008 election.  Back then, it was all about how "the One" would "speak truth to power", fight the status quo, "Hope", "Change", "Yes We Can", etc., etc.

    From "most important" to "most impotent" in 2 years ...

    Parent

    This is silly (2.00 / 1) (#47)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:14:01 AM EST
    Obama had a fillibuster proof majority in congress for an aggregate of 6 months in time and used that period and majority to pass the most comprehensive reform to healthcare undertaken in generations.

    You remember, the healthcare plan that Obama made the no.1 priority on the campaign trail.

    When you analyze congress, between Scott Brown and Specter switching parties and a number of other factors, the filibuster was his enemy for the rest of the first two years.  

    And heads up: the supreme court has more women than ever, gay can fight in the military, there are no limits on pre-existing conditions, there have Osama Bin Laden is dead, half a dozen middle east dictatorships have been or are in the process of being overthrown, and there were zero troop death in Iraq last month for the first time since the war started.

    When you say there has been no positive change, speak for yourself.

    Parent

    Filibuster proof? Nice rewrite of history (5.00 / 7) (#54)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:27:13 AM EST
    As I recall, it was the inability to get "the required" 60 votes that doomed the public option even before Ted Kennedy passed.  I also recalled HCR passing the Senate on a reconciliation vote, which has been told to us by Obama could not be used, in another attempt to sabotage the public option.

    Obama's campaign trail HCR included a public option.

    Parent

    Oh (2.00 / 1) (#57)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:28:40 AM EST
    People still believe that we could have gotten a public option here in the real world.

    If you think that was possible, we just aren't going to agree on much about this stuff.

    I think the public option was always a pipe dream and its use by both Obama and Hillary political positioning.

    Parent

    Oh (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 12:51:36 PM EST
    thanks for reminding us not to believe what Obama says.

    Parent
    So, in your opinion, Obama lied ... (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by Yman on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 01:03:15 PM EST
    ... to us, promising a public option, just for "political positioning"?  He made promises which were (according to you) "impossible", simply for "political positioning"?  Hey, just out of curiosity, was Obama lying for "political positioning" when he:

    1.  promised to vote against the FISA "compromise", even filibuster it if need be?

    2.  mocked the individual mandate, then later endorsed it?

    3.  promised a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners?

    4.  repeal the Bush tax cuts?

    5.  allow cheaper, imported prescription drugs

    6.  close Guantanamo?

    7.  stop the "lobbyist's revolving door"?

    8.  hold the HCR meetings in full, public view on C-SPAN?

    9.  introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the first year?

    10.  enact a windfall profits tax on the oil companies to pay for needed alternative energy programs?

    Etc, etc., etc ...

    Just out of curiosity, is "political positioning" supposed to sound better than "lying", "pandering", "flip-flopping", "duping", etc.?  Hey, do you think you could point out which of his 2012 campaign promises are just "political posturing" for us?  Just so we're clear before the election ...

    ... when he still needs our votes?

    That would be great.

    Parent

    Please (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:28:07 AM EST
    Please, can I send you my $1000/year premium increase for all of this wonderful "free stuff" we got under Obama's "massive health care reform".

    Because to those of us here in the individual insurance backwoods, it was just a giveaway to insurance companies.

    And yes, for nothing.

    Parent

    Teresa (2.00 / 1) (#60)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:33:08 AM EST
    Is it 2014?  If not, then the fact that most of the impacts don't start 'til then could be one reason that you haven't felt any effects.

    Also, your premiums were likely scheduled to go up this year regardless of ACA and perhaps by just as much depending on your insurer.

    The savings from ACA will not kick in for years.  That has always been the case.

    Parent

    And are you predicting her premiums (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by observed on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:36:33 AM EST
    will go down after 2014? If so, I want a piece of this action.

    Parent
    What you don't (5.00 / 3) (#72)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 12:52:56 PM EST
    get with this POS legislation is that by not going into effect until 2014 you're giving the insurance companies years to jack up huge policy increases.

    Parent
    You cannot even marginally argue... (5.00 / 3) (#64)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:36:48 AM EST
    ...in any rational form, that the ACA is healthcare reform, aside from Medicare expansion, which Obama himself has put on the block of late.  Pure bullsh*t.  The ACA props up the for-profit insurance game, which ultimately MUST put care secondary to profit.  And it does not even offer Americans the FREEDOM to choose a not-for-profit public alternative.  

    And if you think the fillibuster was Obama's enemy for two years, forgive me, but I respectfully suggest you lack any amount of sentient imagination.  Do you REALLY think this crop of idiot Republicans, who don't even know how to tell a joke, are capable of fillibustering this nation into anything but disgust?  For sh*t's sake, man, you LET them make fools of themselves, and all the while you provide the rational and satirical and infuriating COMMENTARY on it.  You run the show 24/7.  And if you are beaten by Republicans in the rhetorical game -- which is ALL a fillibuster is, btw -- then you deserve to lose.  

    Parent

    You have enough problems ... (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Yman on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 01:27:50 PM EST
    When you say there has been no positive change, speak for yourself.

    ... speaking for yourself, so maybe you shouldn't try putting words in other peoples' mouths.

    BTW - You might be right.  "Change - as long as you give me a filibuster-proof majority for four years and I get to have a signing ceremony with a pretty speech" is a bit of a mouthful.

    The "most comprehensive reform to healthcare undertaken in generations" was pretty funny, though.

    Parent

    Making things up once again ABG (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 01:34:55 PM EST
    Obama's POS health insurance legislation was not passed when Obama had a filibuster proof majority.

    Obama's health insurance legislation passed and was signed into law in March, 2010. Obama did not have a filibuster proof majority in congress in March, 2010.

    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.


    Parent
    What's really silly, ABG, is that you keep (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 03:57:18 PM EST
    thinking you can sell this stuff to people who are among the most informed, intelligent people in the blogosphere, who don't forget what's happened every time someone like you comes along who needs to re-write history in order to make a case for your guy.

    Parent
    Well, I suppose (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Zorba on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 04:01:28 PM EST
    you have to give him credit for trying.  Or something.  True believers, and all that.  Like Sisyphus continually pushing that rock up a hill, only to have it roll back down again, over and over.

    Parent
    Except (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by chrisvee on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 04:09:37 PM EST
    the rock keeps rolling over us. :-(

    Parent
    Revision (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:18:14 PM EST
    the most comprehensive reform to healthcare undertaken in generations

    Apparently Medicare (1965) is off your radar.

    You're so full of it you miss the obvious.

    Parent

    Never possible if you refuse to try (5.00 / 5) (#58)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:30:23 AM EST
    that is a fact of which we all can be 100% certain.

    And there is nothing more infuriating about Obama than his unilateral concessions at the outset which always, always leads to meeting the GOP halfway between his already conceded starting point and their right wing insanity.

    Parent

    You have (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:38:58 PM EST
    no way to prove your point.

    The ARRA was half hearted and half a$$ed.

    Over 30% of ARRA were tax cuts.  Damned awfully foolish; very low bang for the buck.

    Obama did nothing in 2010 in the face of an anemic "recovery."

    And that "biggest stimulus in history" claim is subject to debate.  During the 1930s Roosevelt Administration spending on WPA projects was massive.

    Parent

    As % of GDP, I doubt it was even close (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:16:40 AM EST
    to the biggest stimulus in history.

    Parent
    If you quibble (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:31:27 AM EST
    in the right direction, Bush's 1.x trillion tax cut was the biggest stimulus ever...but if you quibble in another way, it was Obama.

    It all depends on how you quibble.  And ABG is the master quibbler.

    Parent

    My point is (2.00 / 1) (#62)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:34:42 AM EST
    that the stimulus is what my pop called a Big Freaking Deal.  Whether it is the first biggest or second biggest, it was not a wimpy measure by any objective analysis.

    It wasn't big enough but that doesn't mean it wasn't a big deal.

    Parent

    Even if you're right (5.00 / 5) (#73)
    by NYShooter on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 01:00:45 PM EST
    that 800 Billion was the most he could have gotten, by demanding, and fighting for 1.5 Trillion, and being forced to accept 800B. he'd be in a position today of campaigning on the slogan of "I told you so!"

    Instead, sorry Pop, Obama wimped out.

    Parent

    Second chance... (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by huzzlewhat on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 05:51:53 PM EST
    Not only would he be entitled to say "I told you so," but -- more importantly -- he'd have laid the foundation to go back and ask for more. He and his allies would be able to argue that the smaller stimulus did some good, but not enough, and push for a second stimulus. It would actually transform mere stabilization instead of the recovery into a winning argument -- "See, we got halfway there, we would have gotten all the way there if you'd given me what I asked for. Now give me what I ask for!" -- as opposed to the weak-seeming, apparent self-justification it is now.

    Parent
    As if the GOP would agree (none / 0) (#89)
    by Politalkix on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 06:00:55 PM EST
    that we got half-way there or "smaller stimulus did some good, but it was not enough"! They would just say that the money was wasted and increased the debt.

    Parent
    There wouldn't be a GOP left (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by NYShooter on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 06:34:55 PM EST
    if Obama knew how to use the bully pulpit effectively. If there's one thing those gopers fear more than "socialism," it's unemployment.

    They do have telephones in Mississippi, you know.

    Parent

    Agree? Hah! (none / 0) (#107)
    by huzzlewhat on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 01:00:58 PM EST
    Heck, the GOP isn't going to agree with anything Obama suggests -- even when they're policies that they themselves presented in the not-too-distant past. But by pitching low at the outset, instead of visibly "settling," Obama denied himself even the language needed to even make the argument. Now, in order to ask for more, he has to contradict, rather than reaffirm, his earlier stance, and he starts that much further down in the logical hole.

    Parent
    By any objective analysis (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:25:37 PM EST
    it was weak tea because it didn't even come close to adequacy.  A flawed, anemic remedy that economists outside the administration as well as his own advisers considered inadequate.

    It was not a Big Freaking Deal, it was like pi$$ing on a forest fire.

    Parent

    In a single bill? (none / 0) (#55)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:27:13 AM EST
    What would be the ones ahead of it?  You may be right, but I assume that this was accepted fact.

    Parent
    "In a single bill" (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by sj on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:19:19 AM EST
    You know what?  BFD that it was a single bill.  Who really cares about that?  Well, except those of us who realize that the fact that it was single bill is a big part of the problem with it.  It's a bill not an effort. A measure full of half (or less) measures.

    A bunch of smaller bills that were actually effective would be impressive.  This?  not so much.  

    Parent

    Deficit doomsdayers & tax cutters talk dollars (none / 0) (#61)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:33:19 AM EST
    and % as it suits them never bothering to explain the difference.

    Parent
    One "unforced error" after another (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 02:00:19 PM EST
    The economists the President ignored were saying publicly what, according to Brad DeLong, some on the President's economic team were telling the President privately: you're going to need a bigger boat. ...So you'd best be preparing the public for what might be needed, given the depth of the recession.  Instead, as DeLong notes, we got one "unforced error" after another.

    The President and his incompetent political advisers insisted that all was well and that we just needed patience.  And they continued to say that long after the data showed the Administration had badly underestimated the seriousness of what we now call the "lesser depression." They are still doing that.

    But the story gets worse.  Soon after Congress passed the first stimulus, the President resurrected the notion, partly ignored from his campaign, that what the economy needed was substantial budget reductions, including "reforms" -- benefit cuts -- to make Social Security and Medicare sustainable.  Obama strongly pivoted to budget cutting even though the recovery was not assured and unemployment was persistent, and even though his economic advisers knew, as Krugman et al were saying, that we could face a long and uncertain recovery with lingering and unacceptable levels of unemployment.

    So it wasn't just the not really mindboggling size of the first stimulus that was problematic; it was the deliberate policy of ignoring evidence and credible advice that much more would be needed and for an extended period, probably years.  Even worse was the rhetoric about budget cuts that would undermine any effort to achieve further fiscal stimulus. Again, highly credible voices warned this was a serious problem, but Obama ignored them. link



    Parent
    ABG (none / 0) (#27)
    by Politalkix on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:43:26 AM EST
    I have linked an article from the Washington Post. Most people in TL will like this article because it says that the President's approval rating has reached new lows.

    However, embedded in the article is also the following
    "Similarly, there has been little change in the widespread public perception that Obama favors a bigger federal government that offers more services.
    That highlights a major disconnect between Obama and the public. Only 38 percent of those polled say they favor a larger government with more services, while 56 percent say they favor a smaller government with fewer services."

    Parent

    What percent believe in the afterlife? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:49:48 AM EST
    Reading polls is not leadership, actually LEADING them to a better place is.  And Obama does not lead, ever.  He is a classic follower.

    Parent
    People want to believe in the afterlife (none / 0) (#32)
    by itscookin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:58:29 AM EST
    because the alternative is unpleasant for them. It's remarkable how human beings can convince themselves that what makes them the most comfortable is true no matter what evidence is lacking or is contradictory.

    Parent
    Got the New Deal polling on that? (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:41:41 AM EST
    You'd be surprised I bet.

    Parent
    Politalkix (none / 0) (#40)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:45:00 AM EST
    Those polls reflect the issue. People want low taxes on the middle class, higher taxes on the rich, spending cuts that don't impact their entitlements, and direct stimulus that fixes the economy and jobs problems.

    In essence, they want it all.

    But there are certain things that they believe in more strongly depending on how the issue is framed.


    Parent

    Re: (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:52:42 AM EST
    But there are certain things that they believe in more strongly depending on how the issue is framed.

    That's what progressives want.  Frame the issue so that Americans want/support Democratic priorities.

    Do that instead of framing the issue around GOP priorities like the deficit.

    Parent

    lilburro (none / 0) (#45)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:55:39 AM EST
    That is a very fair criticism.

    Parent
    This (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:53:06 AM EST
    is the problem when you don't campaign on a clear economic plan for the country.

    Parent
    Nonsense, want it all. Jeez (5.00 / 5) (#52)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:20:40 AM EST
    Raising marginal rates to less than half what they were in 1960?  That's wanting it all.

    Spending cuts that don't impact entitlements?  Let's start with "Defense," it is obscene what we spend.  But that would be wanting it all.

    Direct stimulus?  The cost of Govt borrowing has never been lower.  Spend spend spend!!!!  On infrastructure, parks, broadband , alternative energy and other long term assets.

    These do not consitutue wanting it all.  These are the positions anyone worthy of calling themselves a Democrat would be pursuing with all his or her might.

    Parent

    Your (1) is a direct result of your (2) (none / 0) (#69)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 12:39:58 PM EST
    So yes, I agree the GOP has been very effective carrier of this disease.

    The Dems have not been effective spokespeople for 'tax and spend' for a long time. And in 2008 they stopped even trying when they nominated Obama.

    Parent

    Just to make sure that my primary thinking isn't (2.00 / 1) (#65)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:43:42 AM EST
    lost in all of this talk of stimulus:

    My position: If we got a $1.2 trillion stimulus bill through in 2009, the economy would still be bordering on double dip and Obama would be in the same position politically because the EU is about to descend into real chaos and the situation in Japan and elsewhere have more impact than an additional $500 billion.

    When I say the POTUS has limited power, there is the perspective of our domestic situation and then there is the global situation (which actually has more of an impact on our gdp and job growth at this point).

    The POTUS definitely has limite power (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 12:35:21 PM EST
    The constitution limits it technically.  But what isn't limited is a president's ability/desire/inclination to rally the public through the use of the bully pulpit.  A president has the ability to have a public "And I welcome their hatred" moment, the power of which is unmatched.  The POTUS has the potential, always, depending on the person holding the office, to take rhetoric to its vital ends: as an elected representative of the people speaking against powers allied AGAINST the interest of the people.

    Obama, IMO, has failed to use this power again and again, because he does not WANT to use it, because he cannot IMAGINE being that divisive, even if what is best for the nation requires it.

    Parent

    if we got 1.2 trillion of what (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by CST on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 12:35:26 PM EST
    precisely?

    I think part of the problem is throwing around meaningless numbers and pretending they are something else.  Define "stimulus".  Let's say we got $1.2 trillion of infrastructure funding.  You know what we can absolutely 100% say about that?  We would then have $1.2 trillion more in infrastructure.  And the jobs that go with that to boot.  Which is not the same position, as a country.

    Now as for the double dip and political question that's a different issue, since I don't have a crystal ball there's not realy anyway of knowing 100%.  But I DO know 100% that it would be more than what we have today.  Which isn't cutting it.

    Parent

    Of course (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by NYShooter on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 06:29:06 PM EST
    and The EU is in the trouble it is for much the same reason that America is. And guess who has earned a billion frequent traveler miles going to Europe and counseling ("instructing"?) them on how to manage the crisis?......our own wunderkind, "Timmieh!"

    Only an uninformed amateur could believe that Europe would have embraced "austerity" as the U.S. charged ahead with a growing economy.

    Doesn't everyone know we are all linked?

    Parent

    If we had a 1.2 trillion stimulus in 2009, (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 12:36:32 PM EST
    with part of it allocated to a HOLC-like program, we would be much better off.

    Of course I can't prove that any more than you can prove your position.

    Parent

    Pure fantasy about the 1.2 trillion. (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by observed on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 01:44:52 PM EST
    You don't have any expertise in economics.
    Quit tossing offhand BS as if you know something.


    Parent
    Hear! Hear! (none / 0) (#75)
    by Yman on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 01:08:02 PM EST
    Most impotent POTUS, evah!

    Parent
    Brave man (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:41:24 AM EST
    Discussing pragmatism again today :)

    Creative pragmatic spending cuts? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:59:46 AM EST
    WASHINGTON -- The US Postal Service will be unable make a $5.5 billion payment this month and deliveries could shut down entirely this winter if the government does not step in, The New York Times reported Monday.

    "Our situation is extremely serious," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told the newspaper in an interview. "If Congress doesn't act, we will default."
    [snip]
    In July, the service unveiled a plan to close more than 10 percent of its post offices throughout the United States. It had already slashed 110,000 jobs -- 16 percent of its workforce -- in the past four years to cut its wage bill.

    The $5.5 billion payment due at the end of this month is meant to finance retirees' future health care. A Senate committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss the postal service's financial difficulties.

    -- AFP via RawStory, Sept 05, 2011

    Did you read the diary at Orange (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:06:52 AM EST
    yesterday by the postal worker about how this figure is a made up figure that they were given and that no private corporation is on the hook for funding their pensions to this degree?  The money is being demanded to offset the deficit, but their pension fund is flush or is at least supposed to be flush....it has been raided though just like Social Security has been.

    Parent
    I didn't see it, no... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:12:36 AM EST
    Here's link (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:21:47 AM EST
    Thanks (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:28:56 AM EST
    I imagine there must be a 'bipartisan solution' to deal with 'greedy' postal workers?

    Parent
    Of course there is (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by sj on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:31:36 AM EST
    Break the union.  What else?

    Parent
    Damn republicans (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:35:55 AM EST
    Better vote democrat next year I guess...

    Parent
    Are there any Democrats running (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:52:12 PM EST
    next year?

    Parent
    Well, there are (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:32:22 AM EST
    democrats running next year, but they are members of the Green Party or maybe other parties besides the Democratic Party.

    Parent
    The pension fund (none / 0) (#94)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:03:22 PM EST
    any pension fund, will not remain "flush" if regular contributions aren't made.

    Parent
    President Obama on the Postal Service: (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by KeysDan on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 02:40:59 PM EST
    "If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No. they are."  Mr. Obama said at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, It is the Post Office that's always having problems."  August 18, 2009.  The Postal Union was irked by Obama's diss and sent a letter of concern to the White House.  However, this characterization was repeated on shows like Meet the Press (actually, I recall then Senator Obama saying something like this during the campaign).

    Parent
    It still amazes me (none / 0) (#96)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:11:14 PM EST
    how he pushes Republican meme.

    We've all heard him push GOP mythology time and again but it still just floors me.

    Does he really buy into all that crap or is he just currying favor with low information voters (his base in the primaries).  Either way it's not good.

    Parent

    No, cutting taxes... (none / 0) (#93)
    by Romberry on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 10:03:03 PM EST
    ...would NOT be the right economic policy, nor even part of the right economic policy. Saying that "It would be the right economic policy to both cut taxes and borrow to increase government spending" tells me that you, perhaps without even knowing it, have internalized and succumbed to a talking point/Republican supply side myth that has no actual basis. See "Everything You Know is Wrong. Tax Cuts Don't Work."

    Tax cuts have no place in this debate or in economic policy. Not only do they not help, they hurt.

    ENOUGH (none / 0) (#104)
    by cal1942 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 11:36:21 PM EST
    No more talk of tax cuts.