Senate Passes Fiscal Cliff Bill, 89 to 8

Update 12:10 am MT : The Senate passed the fiscal cliff bill. Sens. Rand Paul, Carper (D-DE), Tom Harkin, Michael Bennet, Rubio, Grassley, Shelby and Lee voted against it. The vote is 89 to 8. The House will not vote tonight. AP article here.

Interesting that Colorado Senator Mark Udall voted for it while Senator Michael Bennet voted against it -- both are Democrats. Here's why Tom Harkin opposed it.

One additional saving: Congress won't be getting a $900 pay raise scheduled to take effect this spring.

Update: 11:45 pm MT: The Senate is now voting. [More...]

Original Post: 12/31/12 7:25 pm:

Is anyone surprised? Congress has reached a deal on the Fiscal Cliff. They will vote tonight.

Ezra Klein reports:
Under the proposed accord being hammered out by Biden and McConnell, households earning less than $450,000 would largely escape higher income tax bills, though couples earning more than $300,000 a year and individuals earning more than $250,000 would lose part of the value of their exemptions and itemized deductions, under the terms of the emerging agreement.
Estate taxes will increase ato a top rate of 40% after a $5 million exemption. The alternative minimum tax will be gone for 30 million families. Unemployement benefits are extended another year.

Businesses will get tax credits for research and development. Payments to Medicare doctors will not be cut. There will tax credits for college tuition and the working poor for five more years.

CBS's version:

Tax rates: current tax rates will be extended for all wage earners making below $400,000 and couples making below $450,000.

Capital gains tax: Capital gains and dividend tax rates will increase from 15 to 20 percent. (It will be 20%)

Renewable energy tax credit: the tax credit for renewable energy companies will be extended for another year.

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    This is horrible for Democrats (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Makarov on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:23:21 PM EST
    Because they're giving up all leverage over Republicans and not solving the debt ceiling issue.

    I don't see any reason to vote for this. They should at least get something for going over the $250K limit on tax cuts.

    Capital Gains, UC extension, and energy credit are not enough.

    They're fools to make any deal that doesn't take the debt ceiling off the table until the 2015 Congress.

    The debt ceiling: another manufactured (5.00 / 9) (#9)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:17:03 AM EST
    crisis that ultimately serves the power elite at the expense of the rest of us.

    And the vapid talking heads can only seem to focus on "compromise," with no consideration given to the policies involved - so what if the compromise is bad policy because the policies on either side of it are bad, too?  At least they "came together," right? And "got something done."

    It is to barf, really.

    Because this little "crisis averted" will be followed in 6-week increments by one crisis after another, and each one will further anesthetize us to the pain of government that no longer serves the majority of the people it purports to represent.

    Meanwhile, the FBI and the Department of Justice - which haven't been able to bring a single major banker to justice in the last 5 years - are on the case of Occupy Wall Street, working with the banksters and Wall Street to make sure the little people don't get too restless, or get any ideas about making noise and trouble.  Who knew that trying to be heard could get someone labled as a domestic terrorist?  Well, thank goodness for the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, huh?

    Happy New Year!


    Grover Norquist (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jack203 on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 11:48:32 PM EST
    still reigns supreme.

    It aint passing.


    Or (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Jack203 on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 11:52:32 PM EST
    In the House, GOP sources said earlier Monday that there's little practical difference in settling the issue Monday night versus Tuesday. But if tax-averse House Republicans approve the bill on Tuesday -- when taxes have technically gone up -- they can argue they've voted for a tax cut to bring rates back down, even after just a few hours, GOP sources said. That could bring some more Republicans on board, one source said.


    Truly Pathetic, but not surprising.


    Grover has already blessed it (none / 0) (#36)
    by rdandrea on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:19:12 AM EST
    And in the House, voting today, it's actually a tax CUT.

    (Norquist Linkie)


    who elected Grover to anything? (none / 0) (#52)
    by DFLer on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:43:32 PM EST
    apparently that vote won't happen, (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by cpinva on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:10:53 PM EST
    as the republicans in the house refused. good. let the chips fall at midnite, this was a lousy "deal", for members of the actual middle-class.

    No chips to fall (none / 0) (#4)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:33:02 PM EST
    The House will likely vote tomorrow. They won't do anything until after the Senate votes at midnight.

    I agree, but (none / 0) (#93)
    by womanwarrior on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:23:47 PM EST
    will it get any better?  I think the middle class and the people who get social security should be getting out in the street.  

    Sound and Fury (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Dadler on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 11:26:19 PM EST
    Absurdist theatre with even less of a point.

    People held hostage by an inanimate object of their own creation.

    And not the slightest thing resembling Free American Imagination anywhere near the halls of power in this sputtering nation. Only corruption and his cousins.

    As the mind goes, the body follows. Atrophy is the order of our times.

    Truly pathetic in this day and age. We should be so much further along. So much further.


    You're talking about a coumtry ... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:30:49 AM EST
    ... whose voters sat back and were perfectly content to vote for a moron like George W. Bush, and then they did it again four years later.

    We voted for these people, if we even bother to do that much. We don't otherwise get involved in the political process, and we allow Big Money to choose our candidates for us.

    Collectively, we're as much a part of the overall problem as the politicians are.

    "I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street, and nobody seems to know what to do, there's no end to it!

    "We know that the air is unfit to breath and our food is unfit to eat. We sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that is the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad, worse than bad. They're crazy, it's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in our house and the world around us is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, leave us alone in our living rooms -- let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel0belted radials, and I won't say anything, and just leave us alone!"

    "Well, I'm not going to leave you alone! I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest, I don't want you to write, I don't want you to wtite your congressman. I'm not going to tell you what to write, because I wouldn't know what to say about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street -- all I know is that first, you've got to get mad! You've got to say, 'I'm a human being, goddammit! My life has value!'

    "So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, `I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!'"

    - Howard Beale (Peter Finch), Network (1976)

    What the late Paddy Chayefsky wrote in that Oscar-winning screenplay nearly four decades ago is just as relevant today as it was back then. First, you've got to get mad.



    The Republicans in the House (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:54:40 AM EST
    are the greater problem....

    You think they're a bigger problem than (5.00 / 5) (#29)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:07:46 AM EST
    people who still think the country can "run out of money?"

    Or the Democrats in the House and Senate who are loyally doing the bidding of a president who keeps changing his mind about where "the line" is, and has totally bought in to the deficit hysteria?

    Republicans have always been a problem, but they are not a bigger problem than Democrats who keep giving them what they want when they actually have the leverage to get a great deal of what we want.

    At some point, when leverage like that goes to waste, it's hard not to conclude that Democrats are just making a show of opposition.

    So, the real problem, in my opinion, is that the current crop of Dems, along with the current Democratic president, want to take us in the same direction the GOP wants to go.


    Leverage? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by shoephone on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:54:56 PM EST
    Wait, you mean that Obama actually had leverage on this thing? Like... an electoral mandate??

    Oh, never mind. That was some dream I had on November 6. Back to reality. His lips move, but the words are unintelligible. Kinda like the way grownups sound in those Charlie Brown specials.

    Funny--just yesterday I was reading Thomas Frank's article in Harper's titled, "Will Obama Blow Another Mandate?"

    Another term for the Grand Bargain might be "austerity"--the punitive economic reflex that has driven Europe into deep recession. Austerity proceeds from the reasonable-sounding premise that government must cut back spending during hard times, just as everyone else does. However, the practice actually serves to worsen slumps and recessions rather than cure them. That, in turn, reduces tax revenues, thereby pumping up deficits and making the need for further austerity even more urgent. Such a bargain might be grand, but it might also be stupid and self-destructive. Why does the president crave it so?

    Oy (5.00 / 3) (#111)
    by sj on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:28:33 PM EST
    Just... oy.

    Seriously... (5.00 / 3) (#112)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:41:07 PM EST
    I thought about responding, but what's the point?  You can explain what it means to be sovereign in our own currency, that the federal budget isn't the same as a household budget, you can suggest someone look at the historically low interest rates, the virtually non-existent inflation, the dire need for stimulus - the room that clearly is there to accommodate spending - but people have been so successfully brainwashed into believing that the worst thing ever is debt and deficits that there really is no point.

    As worried as these people are about the deficit, you'd think they'd be cheering for us to go over the anthill that is the fiscal cliff, since doing so would go a long way to lowering the deficit.  

    But, no.

    Really: oy, with eye-rolling and head-banging.


    Apparently (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by sj on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:46:46 AM EST
    you believe everything a politician says.  As long as you like him/her.

    I prefer to verify.  And, while this tripe passes the smell test (as much as tripe can) the soup is full of poison.  There have been lots of links posted and lots of informaton provided here that details how dishonest that sanctimonious lecture is.  But nothing can open the eyes of the wilfully blind.


    So, Barack Obama says something (5.00 / 5) (#151)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:55:44 AM EST
    counter to the argument I made, and what?  I'm supposed to see the light, change my mind, realize the error of my ways?

    I don't think so.  And neither do many others with actual expertise in this area.

    I'm not going to change your mind on this, but if there was anything that signaled what the president's and the rest of the deficit hysterics' priorities are, it is his and their insistence on using chained CPI to "control" the payments to SS recipients (and as a gauge for many other programs), while at the same time indexing the estate tax exemption so that by the end of the decade, it will be possible to pass $7.5 million to beneficiaries tax-free.  We're okay with making sure the wealthy can continue to accumulate wealth tax-free, but we think it's a good idea to erode the quality of life of the vast majority of Social Security recipients living on fixed incomes?

    You tell me how that kind of prioritization makes us a stronger nation - tell me what it says about this nation.  How it helps grow the economy.  You tell me how to reconcile Obama's lip service comments about how the debt is robbing seniors when plans are afoot to affirmatively do just that.  You tell me if you believe the savings from debt reduction is going to be funneled to any of the areas Obama mentions.

    I don't, and if you're honest, I think you'll admit you don't, either.

    The president and both political parties are using false representations of this nation's monetary structure to advance their own agendas, and doing it, increasingly, on the backs of those who have little or nothing left to sacrifice.

    That's shameful.  Too bad that in addition to there not being honor among thieves, there is no shame among them, either.


    See if you can tell the difference ... (5.00 / 2) (#168)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:23:53 PM EST
    ... between massive deficit caused by useless wars, tax cuts that benefit mostly the wealthy and massive military spending, versus deficit spending caused by (and made necessary due to) the largest recession in history with an economy on the verge of collapse.

    I can tell from your link that Kuttner can.

    BTW - Kuttner is "all the Democrats"?

    You need to get out more.


    You first (none / 0) (#181)
    by Yman on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:06:42 AM EST
    I already answered your question.

    You're a deficit hawk who says taxing the rich alone will not be enough to balance the budget (not that anyone claimed it would) and you object to others suggesting you want cuts for the elderly and poor.

    1.  Do you actually object to cuts for the poor and elderly (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, TANF, etc.) - as opposed to simply stating you never advocated for such cuts here?

    2.  If you're concerned about the deficit, what combination of tax increases and spending cuts are you suggesting would balance the budget?

    Well, see, the thing is that I wasn't one (5.00 / 3) (#180)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:47:15 AM EST
    of those Democrats who howled about the deficits when Bush was president; I was, though, howling about the unnecessary and illegal wars, but that's another subject.

    The other funny thing is that Republicans don't really believe in fiscal responsibility - I'm not sure they even understand what real fiscal responsibility is, given Republicans' approval and acceptance of deficits generated by wars and the bloated military and corporate handouts and bailouts.

    No, Republicans only seem to get hysterical about being "fiscally responsible" when the government spends money on people and programs that assist and support the least among us - people who have worked all their lives, people who have the misfortune to be unemployed in a down economy, children who aren't responsible for their parents' economic status.

    Republicans have failed, over and over and over again, to institute policies that actually are both fiscally responsible and stimulative, that grow the economy and create the conditions where people can succeed and thrive.  

    Sadly, Democrats aren't doing much better these days, which is really what most of us are frustrated about.

    But - thanks for the much-needed laugh...I'll be chuckling off and on today about believing in "fiscal responsibility when a Republican is in office," not least because you all are first going to have to find one who isn't batsh!t crazy - no small task, I don't think.


    Let's see where we are after (5.00 / 2) (#139)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:05:38 AM EST
    we get the rich to pay more.....

    I'd rather be Greece than cut off our elderly and poor.  

    It is what one should do if the teachings of Jesus have any meaning.  And, lo and behold, the official Catholic Church agrees....


    And you of course agree (5.00 / 2) (#140)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:08:21 AM EST
    the defense budget should be cut in half, and NASA should be phased out, true?

    Or, are the only cuts you advocate are cuts to the elderly and the poor?


    Do you as an individual live on (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:37:39 AM EST
    a strictly cash basis? Or do you owe money on your house...your car...credit cards...student loans or borrow money for any reason whatsoever?

    If so you already spends more each year than you take in and you borrow money with interest to make up the difference.

    You are like Greece, the U.S. is not.


    Do you know what the current interest (none / 0) (#147)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:06:16 AM EST

    And of course conservatives never say they will cut aid to the poor and the elderly.  They talk instead in euphemisms.  We need to reign in entitlements, they will say.  But reigning in entitlements means hurting the poor and the elderly......  


    So if you're NOT ... (none / 0) (#152)
    by Yman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:00:43 PM EST
    .... advocating a cut in spending for the poor/elderly, what course of action are you suggesting?  Massive defense cuts?  Because if you aren't advocating cuts in SS, Medicare, Medicaid, you're running out of other places to cut.  Are you suggesting massive tax hikes in the alternative?

    BTW - No one suggested that raising taxes on the wealthy would be enough, by itself, to eliminate the deficit.  Not that we haven't heard that talking point on Faux News a few hundred times already.


    Take a course in logic (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:18:35 PM EST
    No - there are other alternatives.  Short term, you can't institute across-the-board spending without slowing the economy and creating even greater deficits.  Long-term, taxes will need to be raised on everyone, but the tax increase on the wealthiest will reduce the deficit now.  Cut defense spending gradually, by far the largest discretionary spending item in the budget.  End the useless and expensive wars you wingers love.

    You never did say what you advocated.

    Guess there's a reason.


    Yes, I think Republicans are the bigger problem (none / 0) (#30)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:08:48 AM EST
    Yes (none / 0) (#50)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:39:25 PM EST
    The Republicans in Congress are the bigger problem.

    It will be a decade until the Republican Congress will be defeated after redistricting (a rigged system), so we need to do the best we can until then,

    Raising rates on individuals making more than $400,000 and couples earning less than $450,000 was a very very very long and difficult fight with the Republicans holding Congress.  But we did it.  I wish it was 200 - 250 instead of 400 - 450, but it's not the end of the world.

    Democrats won't be able to touch rates on the rich until they own Congress again.  But we can hopefully compromise with Republicans in other ways (tax loopholes).  With Grover Norquist out of the picture, more compromise should be on the way.  


    Just out of curiosity, Jack, what (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:11:45 PM EST
    flavor Kool-Aid are you drinking?

    I hear the grape goes well with the beefy cat food varieties - what do you like with the chicken and seafood?

    Seriously, it continues to amaze me how successful the campaign to delude and scare America - the template for which was the selling of the Iraq War - is on economic issues, not to mention the ongoing "the best we could hope for" scam.

    There's so much compromising going on, you'd think the Dems had lost the election and Republicans weren't a collection of, as Charlie Pierce likes to call them, zombie-eyed granny-starvers.


    Sorry (none / 0) (#76)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:10:52 PM EST
    I don't have the first idea what you're trying to say.

    Are you coming at me from the left or the right...I can't even tell.


    Cantor rejects deal (none / 0) (#62)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:05:38 PM EST
    The House Republicans kill the deal....

    And, you thought this was over.......


    So if the House Republicans kill the bill (none / 0) (#79)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:14:10 PM EST
    I guess all the griping by the left that this deal was terrible for them will be all for naught.

    The Republican congress is completely insane.  This country is in a hell of a lot of trouble.


    Don't blame the victim. (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by lentinel on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:28:27 AM EST
    The country did what it has been doing for years.
    It votes for what it considers the least worst.
    In the case of W. - The first election featured an abysmal run by Gore - coupled with his putrid pick of that slug Lieberman as his v.p. - Gore made it a point to distance himself from Clinton - who could have won a third term if constitutionally permitted. No wonder Gore lost.

    And then, in 2004 - shall we talk about the equally abysmal campaign run by Kerry and his glorious choice of v.p., Edwards?
    He could have decimated that scoundrel and liar, confronted him with facts and righteous anger. But he was a limp rag in the debates. Because he, himself, had swallowed much of the Bush ethic and lies.

    I felt at the time, as loathsome as they were, that Bush and Cheney projected some degree of confidence, and Kerry and Edwards projected... I don't even know what they projected.

    So, I wouldn't say that the people, "were perfectly content" to vote for a moron like George W. Bush".

    They were just trying as best they can to survive and neither Gore nor Kerry seemed to give them a viable alternative to the devil they knew.


    Obama (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by koshembos on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:00:14 AM EST
    Is he really the president?

    No. (none / 0) (#28)
    by lentinel on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:55:57 AM EST
    I have never seen a president with less presence.

    How are we to feel about Biden taking over?
    It's like they decided to send a grownup to do the work.

    What a mess.

    I just hope we last until 2016.


    Biden - Obama (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:41:22 PM EST
    Don't buy into the Republican bullshit.   The Republican electorate was more willing to like the idea came from a Biden compromise and not Obama.  You can decide on why that is.

    It says more about the Republican electorate than Obama in my opinion.


    I (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by lentinel on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:15:59 PM EST
    get the impression that Biden, having been in government for quite awhile, knows something about how things work... Whereas the incumbent president had little experience in government and still appears to be clueless.

    That was my reaction to  this.


    So you buy the Republican Bullshit machine then (1.33 / 3) (#85)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:23:47 PM EST
    Don't be that stupid

    What (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by lentinel on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:14:25 PM EST
    Republican bs machine are you talking about regarding this "deal"?

    To whom do you refer?
    To what do you refer?

    I don't know what you are talking about - unless your implication is that a "leftist" position is one which amounts to being a republican dupe.

    But I shouldn't try to interpret what you mean.


    It's pretty obvious some on the right (2.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:56:52 PM EST
    are trying to frame it that they needed to compromise with Biden instead of Obama because Obama is an extremist.  It fits their narrative.

    The deal was exactly the same.

    I have no clue what self-described "leftists" such as yourself are thinking....nor care.


    Well, why play into that (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:37:29 PM EST
    Republican BS?   They need to negotiate with the president they have, not the president they would like  to have, to borrow a good Republican idea.   Nothing against Biden,  who is just doing the administration's bidding, but McConnell should not get to chose with whom he negotiates.  And, what about McConnell's Democratic counterpart, Senator Reid?  What is he, chopped liver?  

    Chopped liver...for sure...for sure (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:42:10 PM EST
    ...National Journal says Biden/Obama undermined Reid's attempt to play hardball with McConnell by agreeing to negotiate with him.  "We know that when McConnell has hit a wall with Reid, he calls Joe Biden to get some more candy," says a Democratic aide.  "McConnell's negotiating options with Reid had narrowed. Either he could let Congress veer off the cliff, take Reid's latest offer or accept the president's tax-hike package for those earning more than $250,000." link

    I hate to tell you, but it's all BS, whether (5.00 / 5) (#92)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:23:24 PM EST
    it's coming from the left or the right where Congress and the president are concerned.

    Dems have been shoveling the BS themselves, and I know this because they didn't have to join in on the my-deficit-and-spending-cutting-is-better-than-yours BS, they didn't have to help push the oh-my-god-we're-going-over-the-fiscal-cliff BS, they didn't have to get behind chained CPI which - sorry - isn't going to "strengthen" Social Security.  Obama didn't have to be the biggest cheerleader for Simpson/Bowles and The Grand Bargain.

    And yet...he's been part and parcel of pushing all of that BS - and the loyal Dems like Pelosi have been right there with shovels of their own.

    It's all BS, Jack - even that truckload of "compost" you've bought...

    Oh, and so you won't be confused, I'm about as left as it's possible to be; sorry to say, but "left" is a direction this Democratic party, and especially this president, are unfamiliar with.


    The $5 million exemption on the (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:13:44 AM EST
    estate tax is adjusted each year for inflation.

    The deal also would also raise taxes on the portion of estates exceeding $5 million to 40 percent.

    At the insistence of Republicans, the $5 million threshold would rise each year with inflation.


    Guess they will save the chained CPI for for the peasants.

    Well, golly - that makes perfect sense... (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:58:43 AM EST
    I mean, if the policies are just going to help the rich get richer, you really have to put some protection in there to keep Uncle Sam's mitts off their ever-increasing wealth.  And put something in place to make sure the rest of us can't climb out of the hole we've been shoved into, right?

    Come on, now - let's get with the program!  

    And what a great time to buy stock in pet food companies!


    Ouch (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:35:18 AM EST
    Any news on the chained CPI for the rest of us?

    IMO the chained CPI is alive and well (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:57:51 AM EST
    It will be one of the prime ingredients of raising the debt limit. See Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) plan to raise the federal debt:

    It would gradually raise the Social Security retirement age and use the "chained CPI" formula to calculate cost-of-living adjustments, curbing the growing cost of benefits.

    BTW, the chained CPI (which Obama keeps offering) is considerably to the right of Nixon:

    With the support of the overwhelming majority of Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate, President Richard Nixon signed the COLA into law on July 1, 1972 saying that this "action constitutes a major break-­‐through for older Americans, for it says at last that inflation-­‐proof social security benefits are theirs as a matter of right, and not as something which must be temporarily won over and over again from each succeeding Congress."

    How can that be justified though (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:24:53 PM EST
    after basing taxation for the wealthy on inflation?  Don't you think that makes that fight almost impossible for the Republicans to win?

    Simple answer (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:41:03 PM EST

    1. They really don't care that they are very obviously catering to the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. They will just shout "Job Creators" a few times and all will be fine.

    2. The president is o.k. with implementing the chained CPI and IMO the majority of Dems will vote in lock step with him. See Pelosi's statement regarding standing with the president.

    3. They will blame it on the Democrats while the Democrats will blame it on the Republicans.

    4. Neither party or the media will go out of their way to make an issue out of it. The chained CPI will be promoted as strengthening SS. See Pelosi's comments regarding this.

    5. They have set up so many safe districts I doubt they will have to pay any price for their actions in the immediate future.

    If they really don't care that (none / 0) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:42:04 PM EST
    about catering to the rich then why even bother arguing for the tax increases on the rich they got?  If the President is fine with chained CPI why isn't it in this deal?

    I think being skeptical is not necessarily a bad thing, but the existing facts don't add up to what you say they add up to.  If I take on your stance, I believe that there is no fight that I can engage in that makes one bit of difference in the political realm and the policies that will define my life.


    I am confused about your first statement (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:49:10 PM EST
    If they really don't care that about catering to the rich then why even bother arguing for the tax increases on the rich they got?

    I was referring to the Republicans in my first bullet point. They don't care that they may be perceived (rightly so) as catering to the rich. It is what they do and they justify it by shouting tripe such as "job creators."

    OTOH the Dems do want to portray themselves as taking a "balanced" approach and make sure to preach about "shared" sacrifice to justify the cuts.

    I'm not sure why you chose not to believe the president when he has said numerous times he has offered to implement the chained CPI. The most recent statement was on Meet the Press on 12/28/12:

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: ...but I already have, David, as you know, one of the proposals we made was something called Chain CPI, which sounds real technical but basically makes an adjustment in terms of how inflation is calculated on Social Security. Highly unpopular among Democrats. Not something supported by AARP. But in pursuit of strengthening Social Security for the long-term I'm willing to make those decisions.

    The chained CPI is not in this deal because the president is still pursuing his Grand Bargain:

    We're willing to make difficult concessions as part of a balanced, comprehensive agreement but we'll not agree to cut Social Security benefits as part of a small or short-term agreement, especially if that agreement gives more handouts to the rich," Reid said.

    This deal just delays the sequester for two months. The delay brings it back for consideration at the same time as the debt ceiling needs to be raised. Better chance of selling why it is really, really necessary at that time.

    If it comforts you to believe that the president is against implementing the chained CPI regardless of the times he says otherwise, I guess there is not much else that can be said.


    Nixon (none / 0) (#82)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:19:11 PM EST
    Nixon also had an over 70% tax rate on the top 1%

    We all need to work in the realm of reality.   Obama is.

    Until the Republican congress can be crushed, which won't happen until some changes in redistricting....we are stuck with having to compromise with the crazies.

    It's not a good situation.  But once we get Grover Norquist out of the picture...things will be better than they were before.


    Reality is what the politicians and (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:53:41 PM EST
    their apologists chose to make it.

    Your reality is that the we will have  conservative Republican policies and agenda until the cows come home.


    35 to 39.6 (2.00 / 3) (#95)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:03:12 PM EST
    The choices are 35% to 39.6% Or would you have preferred Romney's 20% tax cut on millionaires?

    Get a grip.


    IIRC there was an option to (5.00 / 5) (#99)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:36:35 PM EST
    reinstate income tax rates of 36 percent and 39.6 percent for single Americans earning more than $200,000 and joint filers making more than $250,000.

    IIRC there was an option for the estate tax rate and estate tax exemption to revert back to 2001 levels of a $1 million exemption and a 55%  tax rate.

    IIRC there was an option for the maximum rate on capital gains to back to 20 percent and the top rate on dividends to go back to 39.6 percent.

    What would Obama have to do to fulfill his promises to repeal the Bush tax cuts? Absolutely nothing.

    Maybe you should take your own advise and get a grip.


    Sometimes I get the (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:10:55 AM EST
    feeling that the new Jack sounds a lot like the old ABG. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    Is Romney president? (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by shoephone on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:13:30 PM EST
    Get a brain.

    I don't accept the "Chained CPI" framing (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by rdandrea on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:45:07 AM EST
    We should call it what it really is: the "Catfood CPI."

    they are still passing bills (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:53:07 AM EST
    on unanimous consent. Every time Sen. Pryor asks something be "laid upon the table"  I think of Cream and the song Badge. I had no idea Senators still used that phrase. Here's Clapton singing it at Hyde Park, and Cream at their 2005 reunion, and here's how it originally sounded in the 1969 version.

    Thinkin' 'bout the times you drove in my car.
    Thinkin' that I might have drove you too far.
    And I'm thinkin' 'bout the love
    that you laid on my table.

    I told you not to wander 'round in the dark.
    I told you 'bout the swans that live in the park.
    Then I told you 'bout our kid.
    Now he's married to Mable.

    Love it. Funny what different phrases will bring (none / 0) (#15)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:01:43 AM EST
    to mind. And I never knew the name of that song! Thanks!

    lol; I thought you'd have chosen Politician (none / 0) (#23)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:40:38 AM EST
    I support the left, tho' I'm leanin' to the right

    But I'm just not there when it's coming to a fight.


    Needed a laugh-thanks (none / 0) (#37)
    by mogal on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:27:09 AM EST
    Thanks for the memories... (none / 0) (#59)
    by unitron on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:30:39 PM EST
    ...as ol' ski-nose would have said, but in the song it's laid upon the table as in served or presented to, and in Congress it means put on the back burner or tucked away on a shelf and we'll deal with it later.

    Life Is A Rock (none / 0) (#81)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:17:46 PM EST
    speaking of "reunion and Eric Clapton"

    Reunion mentions Eric Clapton


    Jeralyn, a belated thanks for restoring P3P3P3P3, I am just P3 on HP, best wishes in the New Year


    Does anyone actually believe this? (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:14:03 AM EST
    Dems claim they will not negotiate over debt ceiling.. Oh brother. As Anne said,it is to barf.

    I guess the stage is set for the next farce.

    Doesn't seem that people have much (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:40:09 AM EST
    confidence in that statement. Below is representative of current belief:

    Conceder In Chief?

    OK, now for the really bad news. Anyone looking at these negotiations, especially given Obama's previous behavior, can't help but reach one main conclusion: whenever the president says that there's an issue on which he absolutely, positively won't give ground, you can count on him, you know, giving way -- and soon, too. The idea that you should only make promises and threats you intend to make good on doesn't seem to be one that this particular president can grasp.

    Brian Beutler reports about an "unease among Democrats that Republicans will treat Democratic concessions in the fiscal cliff fight as an indication that the Obama administration lacks the resolve to stare the GOP down in a debt limit fight.... A senior Democratic aide said some members have `diminished confidence' in the administration's willingness to stare down the Republicans in two month's time."

    And that means that Republicans will go right from this negotiation into the debt ceiling in the firm belief that Obama can be rolled. h/t FDDlink

    My belief goes a little further. I believe that Obama will get exactly what he wants. All else is just smoke and mirrors to fool the rubes.


    Indeed (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by Makarov on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:15:18 AM EST
    Obama floated a trial balloon for entitlement cut votes not long ago. It didn't go over very well with Democrats, so he'll lobby for it in a couple months when he 'compromises' with Republicans to avoid a government shutdown.

    He's talked about cutting social security for 5 years, and the Republicans are going to give him the perfect fake crisis to do it. This time, Democrats will have zero leverage in the form of tax rates going in.

    It is the way it is because Obama wants it that way.


    Very, very good chance that not (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:31:35 AM EST
    only will the Republicans give Obama the perfect fake crisis to cut the social insurance programs but they will structure it so the cuts will require a majority of Dem votes to pass.

    A twofer: Long desired cuts and the ability to campaign in 2014 on the fact that the Obama and the Democrats cut your benefits.  


    Yeah... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:20:48 AM EST
    I am glad we have raised taxes on the (very) rich.  450k is better than 1 million (remember when Schumer was throwing that number around last year) if still not as good as 250k.

    But with the debt ceiling looming, AGAIN, this is probably as good as we're going to get.  With the lack of any stimulus at all (the payroll tax cut was not extended), one can only wonder darkly about what the debt ceiling negotiations will bring.  I have a feeling they just wanted to clear the table of revenue issues so that they can play Operation on the social safety net 2 months from now.


    Republicans beginning negotiations? (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:31:18 AM EST
    Two Republican senators want to use the threat of an economic meltdown to raise the retirement age and cut Medicare. Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a plan today that would raise the federal debt limit by $1 trillion in exchange for $1 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as The Hill reported:

    The Corker-Alexander dollar-for-dollar plan has several components.

    It would structurally reform Medicare by creating competing private options giving seniors greater choice of healthcare plans. It would not, however, cap Medicare spending.

    The plan would also give states more flexibility to manage Medicaid programs and prevent states from "gaming the federal share of the program with state tax charges."

    It would gradually raise the Social Security retirement age and use the "chained CPI" formula to calculate cost-of-living adjustments, curbing the growing cost of benefits.

    In exchange, it would direct the debt limit be increased by the same amount as the savings generated from entitlement reform. link

    I'm sure with his usual creative negotiating Obama will be able to find ways of giving the Republicans even more than what they are asking for. IOW - Obama: you want this, this and this well o.k but let me throw in raising the Medicare retirement age and a few other goodies to sweeten the pot for you.


    "Creating competing private options" (5.00 / 6) (#25)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:50:22 AM EST
    "greater choice of health plans."

    And there you have it: the beginning of the end of Medicare.  Because as soon as you destroy the thing that makes Medicare work so well - the enormous pool of people in it, with those at the younger end constantly coming in to help spread the risk - guess what?  It stops working so well, costs go up and then - voila! - we'll "have to" completely privatize it because, well, you know the private sector is just so much better at this sort of thing.  We know this because it has made our health system the envy of the world.  Oh, wait...not so much.  Well, unless you count those who find it to be a paragon of corporate vampirism - that it really does do very well.

    At the same time, they will have monkeyed around with Social Security enough that it's not going to work so well, either - shoot, they won't have to raise the retirement age because most people won't be able to afford to stop working anyway, even if they are eligible to receive benefits.

    And when I see phrases like "more flexibility to manage Medicaid programs," I know that the poor who live in red states are just flat-out doomed, because there's nothing those conservative governors and legislators would like more than shutting down Medicaid - such a drain on the budget when that money could be used to, oh, give more corporations tax breaks or lower the state income tax rate on rich people.

    I know it isn't actually a done deal, but anyone who thinks this isn't where things are headed hasn't been paying attention - and we absolutely cannot count on Democrats to hold the line.  We especially cannot count on Obama to do it - the operative word there being "do:" he'll keep saying the right things, but he'll be doing what he always does - and legions of Democrats - or should I call them "boiled frogs?" - will enthusiastically continue to make excuses and keep encouraging people to vote for Dems.

    Is there no end to the screwing we've been getting?  Doesn't seem so.


    I can't wait for the choruses (none / 0) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:10:47 AM EST
    of praise that will be heaped on Obama when he begins his negotiations on the debt limit. I'm sure his initial statement will set the proper tough tone and all who have been paying attention to his actions will be lambasted for their non-belief.  ;o(  

    I can't imagine (none / 0) (#17)
    by desmoinesdem on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:27:34 AM EST
    why anyone would believe that.

    I think they mean it when they say it (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:28:20 PM EST
    right now, but what leverage do they have when the day comes?  The SOTU will be over as well as the inauguration, so the loss of that limelight.  It will probably be a horrible tough fight.  Hope I'm wrong.

    They have all the leverage they need! (5.00 / 3) (#108)
    by sj on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:14:22 PM EST
    They have a vote!  A vote that means something when it comes to policy. But everyone will be echoing the "our hands are tied" story.  Those poor helpless Dems ... following their leader all the way to the bank.   While the path for the rest of us leads to the poorhouse.  There is no fight ahead.  Only kabuki.  They are going to do what no traditional Dem would ever consider and then tell us it's good.

    I'm going to also quote Anne.  It is to barf.


    Paychecks already are affected, anyway (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Towanda on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:55:46 AM EST
    so: big deal, you Congress dolts.

    My employer, the largest in my state, already emailed us last week that, with paychecks due to come out on January 2, it already had to reset all of the computerized calculations.

    So as of today, I'm already paying the higher taxes.

    Ah, well, Congress is creating more work, but not more jobs, because now the payroll programmers will have to reset the formulae -- and will have to recalculate for the next paychecks to fix the rebate, or so my employer will say.  And we all -- hundreds of thousands of us -- will have to check our paychecks to find the errors and spend the next several months trying to get those fixed.

    Yes, we have been through this and all of the problems to come because of similar life-on-the-cliff manufactured cr*p from our local legislative dolts, whenever they want publicity about how very important they are.  A giant raspberry to them all.

    The additional GOP Bill (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:45:14 PM EST
    that is likely to die.

    Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012

    Sponsored by Paul Ryan.

    In a nutshell...Take defense cuts off the table and effectively take a little over a trillion dollars from the needy.

    It reads like a Rush Limbaugh speech aboard the SS TeaParty cruise to nowhere.

    It was quite the show. (5.00 / 2) (#176)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:31:52 PM EST
    You have to admit it was a pretty damn good scam. One of the better ones the uniparty has dreamt up lately. It had tens of millions - no, hundreds of millions - of people still falling for the two party shell game and believing that fake corporate controlled and run WWF match-like con jobs called "elections" are real.

    The guy who came up with the quote attributed to P.T. Barnum must be rolling in his grave laughing.

    There is a myth. A faerie tale. A fictional story of a functional two party system in which the the two brands legitimately oppose each other and present legitimate choice to voters.

    In that framing Obama is "caving" to republicans.

    In reality however, Obama does NOT cave.

    When someone consistently and repeatedly goes along on everything with someone else whom he claims to be opposing it's not "caving".

    It's the plan. The intentional plan to sucker the voters. Again.

    Exactly so, Edger (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 01:47:01 PM EST
    Whether people think that Obama is caving, or that he is trying to be bipartisan, we have to look at all of his actions.  Not his rhetoric, but his actions.
    The obvious conclusion is that this is what he wants and what he has always wanted.  Period.
    And we have missed you, my brother!  Take care, and namaste.

    Happy New Year, Edger (none / 0) (#182)
    by sj on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:29:54 PM EST
    I hope you're doing well.

    There are guesses (none / 0) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:02:11 PM EST
    it will get close to 80 yes votes in the Senate.

    By my tally (none / 0) (#12)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:09:15 AM EST
    the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 easily passes in the Senate 89-8.

    CoralGables (none / 0) (#42)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:07:36 AM EST
    What were the 8 "Nay" votes? Who didn't vote?

    Here is how the Senate voted (none / 0) (#43)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:18:51 AM EST

    Despite all the outrage in the left blogosphere, the record shows that even Bernie Sanders voted "yea".
    The nay votes came mostly from coservatives and Harkin and Bennett.


    the non voters (none / 0) (#45)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:39:57 AM EST
    Jim DeMint (R) (no show, no reason)
    Mark Kirk (R) (No vote, medical reasons)
    Frank Lautenberg (D) (no show, no reason)

    The no votes:

    Michael Bennet (D) "does not put in place a real process to reduce the debt down the road."
    Tom Carper (D) No statement yet
    Chuck Grassley (R) "Washington has a spending problem, not a taxing problem, and this deal doesn't do anything about the spending problem."
    Tom Harkin (D) "No deal is better than a bad deal and this looks like a very bad deal."
    Mike Lee (R) No statement yet
    Rand Paul (R) `We won't do anything about entitlements. Oh great, this is going to be a real great solution. But we're going to stick it to rich people."
    Marco Rubio (R) "it does nothing to bring our dangerous debt under control."
    Richard Shelby (R) "this package raises taxes, increases spending, and will lead to more borrowing."


    Oh, there's a reason... (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by unitron on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:27:04 PM EST
    Jim DeMint (R) ("So long, suckers, I'm already outta here")

    There, fixed that for you.  : - )


    True (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:32:07 PM EST
    he hasn't been in his office in a couple weeks and no one is answering the phones. He gave his notice and went on vacation (along with his staff) making sure to collect his paycheck through the end of the year.

    Thanks CG (none / 0) (#46)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:43:07 AM EST
    Reason Sen. Michael Bennet voted "No" (none / 0) (#102)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:53:39 PM EST
    Bennet, the new chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement that he rejected the agreement because it does little to reduce the deficit. Calling Washington the "Land of Flickering Lights," Bennet criticized the deal for not setting in motion a long-term debt reduction plan.

    "While I do support many of the items in this proposal - for example, extending unemployment insurance, the wind production tax credit and tax cuts for most Americans - I believe they should have come in the context of a comprehensive deficit reduction package," Bennet said. "Without a serious mechanism to reduce the debt, I cannot support this bill."

    "Putting the country on a sustainable fiscal path and bringing our debt under control is incredibly important to our economy and our standing in the world and is a top priority for me," Bennet continued. "I remain committed to continue working with any Republican or Democrat willing to address this problem in a serious way.  Colorado's kids deserve no less." link

    Well, we technically went over the cliff (none / 0) (#11)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:30:56 AM EST
    unless the cliff is in California...


    this is as good a deal as we get?  Can't wait to fight about all of this again in two months.

    Meh. They blew up the cliff (none / 0) (#21)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:11:11 AM EST
    and now we'll roll to the bottom of the hill instead. Predictable.

    Classic "boiling frog" syndrome.

    Nope they just move the cliff (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:24:26 AM EST
    In two months we will be at the edge of the cliff once again with a whole lot less leverage than what was available in Dec.

    Krugman (5.00 / 5) (#31)
    by lentinel on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:10:36 AM EST

    Anyone looking at these negotiations, especially given Obama's previous behavior, can't help but reach one main conclusion: whenever the president says that there's an issue on which he absolutely, positively won't give ground, you can count on him, you know, giving way -- and soon, too. The idea that you should only make promises and threats you intend to make good on doesn't seem to be one that this particular president can grasp.

    And that means that Republicans will go right from this negotiation into the debt ceiling in the firm belief that Obama can be rolled.

    Not a pretty picture.


    I just (none / 0) (#33)
    by lentinel on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:13:16 AM EST
    saw that you quoted this same article from Krugman below...

    No problem (none / 0) (#35)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:16:55 AM EST
    Sometimes a point needs to be made more than once.

    Krugman is not all negative on this deal (none / 0) (#48)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:51:33 AM EST
    "Not all" - heh (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by Yman on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:13:04 PM EST
    OK, I've had my own sorta-kinda briefing on the apparent fiscal cliff deal, and I'm pretty much with Noam Scheiber. Viewed on its own, it's a bad and upsetting deal but not as terrible as initial rumors had it. But the strategic consequences are likely to be very bad indeed, and in very short order too.


    OK, now for the really bad news. Anyone looking at these negotiations, especially given Obama's previous behavior, can't help but reach one main conclusion: whenever the president says that there's an issue on which he absolutely, positively won't give ground, you can count on him, you know, giving way -- and soon, too. The idea that you should only make promises and threats you intend to make good on doesn't seem to be one that this particular president can grasp.

    And that means that Republicans will go right from this negotiation into the debt ceiling in the firm belief that Obama can be rolled.


    So why the bad taste in progressives' mouths? It has less to do with where Obama ended up than with how he got there. He kept drawing lines in the sand, then erasing them and retreating to a new position. And his evident desire to have a deal before hitting the essentially innocuous fiscal cliff bodes very badly for the confrontation looming in a few weeks over the debt ceiling.

    If Obama stands his ground in that confrontation, this deal won't look bad in retrospect. If he doesn't, yesterday will be seen as the day he began throwing away his presidency and the hopes of everyone who supported him.

    Obama is not rolling on debt ceiling (none / 0) (#53)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:45:35 PM EST
    Republican threats about self inflicting destruction on the economy if they don't get their way will receive the following response.


    Let the crazies threaten.   We aren't listening.


    Is that the "royal" we? (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:57:42 PM EST
    If so Mr. President, get back to me after the debt ceiling is raised without any cuts to the social insurance programs.

    You may not be listening (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by sj on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:20:06 PM EST
    but that's bad strategy.  When someone is telling you what they intend to do, and repeats it over and over again, you should be listening.  The crazies aren't the only ones out in the open.

    Heck maybe I'm wrong and you're right.  Maybe "La La La... I can't hear you..." is better than watching the disaster unfold in real time.  Because neither you nor I can do a d@mn thing about it.


    "Fiscal cliff reveals how dysfunctional... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:23:29 AM EST
    Cantor will not support 2012 fiscal deal (none / 0) (#61)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:03:55 PM EST
    The House Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:10:57 PM EST
    are insane.....

    They have no plausible excuse to tell the American people.  The Senate approved this bill 89-8.


    Somebody has to... (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by unitron on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:29:54 PM EST
    ...boldly stand in defense of the right of the rich to go from hideously wealthy to obscenely wealthy.

    Some House Republicans (none / 0) (#64)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:16:04 PM EST
    wanting to amend the Senate bill. If they do it's dead. Senate is done for the year. If the House doesn't vote on it "as is"  (or votes it down) the bill gets booted to the next Congress.

    My guess is it's all bluster and the vote takes place this evening in the House on the Senate bill.

    Something to behold (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by christinep on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:01:28 PM EST
    isn't it, CG?  If the Senate Deal isn't agreed to, the House Crazies will have handed everyone a tax increase to usher in the New Year.  So...I'm guessing, that after the day's bluster, the House Repub Crazies are more likely than not to agree to the Deal...or face a stripped-down earlier generated House bill from the Senate at the non-negotiated tax level.

    And, Boehner quietly sits on the side-lines as Cantor butters up the Right (and Ryan disappears.) Eventually--assuming the ultimate passage of the Deal before the next Congress--we will sse the square-off with the new Repub House Crazies having to openly attack Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid now that the Deal has provided for a year's longterm unemployment compenation, the stimulus-related tax credits for earned income, child credit, student tuition, and adjusted (at long last) the Alternative Minimum Tax...included in the reolved list per the Deal as well would be the rise from 15 to 20% on capital gains (at the $400K level) and the recurring Medicare doctor-fix for the next year.  In the next round & with the "clean slate" as to negotiation possibilities, it will be another something to behold when the Repubs direct assault on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid programs becomes most clear.  While some talk about how much a number of Dems might cede in this area, I think it is far more likely to expose a challenging instance for Repubs...and, that the outcome of the sequestration/debt negotiations might be a real loser for the Repubs.


    I think your view is entirely too rosy (5.00 / 3) (#84)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:21:39 PM EST
    as to who will be perceived to be supporting cuts to SS, Medicare and Medicaid. Since the President has already shouted his support for cutting the safety net from the rooftops (and Meet the Press), I wouldn't count on the GOP having to take the rap.

    And what "clean slate"? The next big battle will be over the debt ceiling in just a couple of months. Given how much Obama is willing to concede right out of the gate, I think the likeliest scenario is that the safety net is cut in the form of chained CPI and a higher age for Medicare, and the GOP campaigns in 2014 by accusing the Dems of cutting SS. It will make "death panels" a pleasant memory.


    Well now, if my view is too rosy... (none / 0) (#97)
    by christinep on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:15:33 PM EST
    others might regard your view as too pessimistic.

    The "clean slate," in my look, has to do with the clean focus as presented by the sequester situation.  The "who needs to come away with what."  And, the burden of going forward here:  It will be with the Repubs (a little less Crazy in the new Congress, but still of the off-kilter variety.) My view is a bit different in a number of ways, not the least of which is negotiation of civil actions & policy positions constituted the major part of my 30-year government career.  That does not mean--in any way at all--that my credentials trump anyone else's; it only means that my viewpoint of give, take, and the "concessions" necessary for movement (aka compromise) may have different formation.  

    With that background: I think that the Repubs will be more than usually exposed as to the programs of life & work benefits (what some have almost-negatively termed "entitlements") because all the chatter of the issues "resolved" today leaves their intent bare.  The real question, to me, is how far into corporate change (tax code, et al) the Obama Administration is willing to go...and what the price is.  There will be a price on both sides...e.g., the CPI is hard to swallow for me.  (But, in contrast to your claim, I've not heard, seen, or otherwise shouts of giving away the store or Social Secuirty from the Administration...and, I'm not sure hyperbole helps at this stage of the give & take.)


    Not sure how you define "giving away (5.00 / 4) (#105)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:18:56 PM EST
    the store," but if you scroll back up to Mo Blue's comment #88 you will see quotes from Obama's 1/28/12 appearance on Meet the Press. During that interview, Obama makes clear his support for chained CPI. Given that the President is quite insistent on implementing chained CPI, his only demand is that the rich pay something anything no matter how small, I don't think my comment qualifies as hyperbole.

    There is no good reason for Obama and the Democrats to agree to any cuts to SS, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, veterans benefits or any of the myriad programs that chained CPI would aversely affect. The idea that we must give something up,that there must be sacrifice, which means pain for everyone except the top 2%, is a false construct that we should refuse to accept.


    The Republicans won't be exposed on anything (5.00 / 5) (#106)
    by shoephone on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:07:34 PM EST
    going forward, because they haven't given up anything in this round. If you think raising taxes by miniscule amounts on people making just under a half million dollars a year (the new middle class!), and those inheriting $5 million+ is any kind of capitulation, then I think your view is more than "rosy." I think you live in a parallel universe. As Tom Harkin said quite clearly this afternoon on NPR, the president gave ALL his leverage away and now the Dems will have NO negotiating power on the debt ceiling fight. He reiterated Krugman's line, that Obama is "the worst poker player in the world." He sounded both disgusted and depressed.

    Obama has not just hinted at using chained CPI, at cutting SS benefits, at raising the eligibility age for Medicare--he has said it plainly, on a number of occasions. But that's what's been happening in this universe, not the "rosy" universe where facts get mixed up with cotton candy fantasy.

    The fix is in. For those of us who will actually need those SS checks and that Medicare coverage in the next ten years, the wrench that's being applied has a very real, very damaging bite. In this universe.


    You know, I have trouble believing that (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:17:19 PM EST
    Obama was somehow outfoxed by McConnell and Boehner. I think things are going pretty much the way Obama wants them to go. He is not a stupid man. He understands how this business of political deal-making works. And by undercutting Reid and the Democrats, and betraying the base continuously, Obama moves the country ever closer to the Grand Bargain he so craves.

    There was no good reason for Obama to give in on the $250,000 income limit unless he wanted the higher income levels. There was no good reason for him to give in on the estate tax unless he wanted the higher levels.

    My money says that by the time all these crises have passed, sequester and debt ceiling and budget, he will have agreed to, and gotten the Dems in Congress to vote for, huge corporate tax breaks in exchange for chained CPI and will try to sell it as "saving and strengthening Social Security".

    Obama is getting what he wants by screwing the Democrats and "caving" to the Republicans.


    Just a reminder (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:43:39 PM EST
    Obama actually raised the estate tax exemption from Bush's $3.5 million to $5 million and lowered the rate from Bush's 45% to 35% when he extended and enhanced Bush's tax cuts in 2010.

    A lot of solid Democratic support (1.67 / 6) (#118)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:54:47 PM EST
    to the President and Democrats come from upper middle class folks (eg: university professors and professionals in high cost of living states like CA, NY, WA) with family incomes upto $450K, young people and minority voters. They are a more reliable part of the Democratic base than the MO Blues, Lentinels and others who think that their votes are too precious for a Democrat candidate unless the politician gives them everything that they want. So I disagree with the view that the President and Senate and House Democrats are "screwing Democrats"; imo, they are coming through for them.

    You could have made your point without (5.00 / 5) (#121)
    by Angel on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:59:02 PM EST
    denigrating some quite intelligent and passionate people.

    Your condescension has been duly noted (5.00 / 3) (#124)
    by shoephone on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:10:30 PM EST
    I give y'all... (5.00 / 5) (#125)
    by sj on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:12:45 PM EST
    ...Exhibit A:
    ...family incomes upto $450K, young people and minority voters. They are a more reliable part of the Democratic base

    And the Dems are absolutely coming through for them.  How many posters on this blog come within $200K of that "Democratic base" I wonder?  $300K?

    Those that do are getting "everything they want".  The working class?  The 46.2 million people living below the poverty line?  Not so much.


    Indeed. That take-away quote (5.00 / 4) (#127)
    by shoephone on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:26:10 PM EST
    was pretty hard to miss. It's the whole shebang, ain't it? The richest 1% of Americans are the reliable Democratic base of support. I'm glad that's finally been pointed out to us. Now we don't have to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the Dem base is middle class and low-income working folks who believe in union representation, civil rights for all, health care for all, seniors not having to spiral in to poverty when their employment life ends, and manufacturing and buying American-made products while our jobs are being shipped oversees.

    Thank goodness we don't have to differentiate between who the traditional "base" of the party is and who it is that "owns" the party. I mean, if we're actually being honest about this stuff.  


    There is so much dishonesty (none / 0) (#129)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:44:11 PM EST
    in your post, shoephone! You deliberately left out the fact that I mentioned the young, AAs and Hispanics-many of whom do not make much money and live day to day and month to month (for whom UE extension and college loans are make or break issues right now) and who care more for civil rights than older voters. Yes, the most deprived and the most idealistic voters in the country have the President's back more strongly than you do. In your (and some other posters fantasy world), these people are all stupid or as some of you like to say, "drinking the kool-aid. However, that is a very condescending attitude to have! Also, who are you to tell upper middle class faculty or professionals that are solid democrats that they are not part of the "democratic base"? Give it a rest!

    And here's the REAL dishonesty: (5.00 / 6) (#132)
    by shoephone on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:51:16 PM EST
    Your silly notion that "having the president's back" is what makes one a Democrat.

    Ridiclous on so many levels.


    Yes. (5.00 / 4) (#145)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:05:24 AM EST
    I didn't realize that it was our "job" to have the President's back.
    Silly me.  Somehow, I always thought that we try to elect a President who will have our back.

    You are being dishonest again (1.00 / 3) (#153)
    by Politalkix on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:16:00 PM EST
    I did not say that "having the president's back" is what makes one a Democrat. But you and those who are giving you "5" ratings already knew that!
    I have said that he is coming though for Democrats who have his back. Please work on understanding the difference.
    I believe in a big tent party unlike many here.  

    This is actually what you said: (5.00 / 3) (#155)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:33:14 PM EST
    Yes, the most deprived and the most idealistic voters in the country have the President's back more strongly than you do.

    In reality, you don't know how "deprived" anyone here on this site is.

    And now you say this:

    I have said that he is coming though for Democrats who have his back.

    What does it even mean that some Democrats "have his back" and others don't?

    Apparently, the president is not obliged to work in the best interest of all the American citizens, or even all Democrats, but only those he-- and you--assume "have his back."

    This is total hogwash. But try telling me again how people earning between $100,000 and $450,000 a year are part of the "reliable Democratic base." Since the only polls and studies I find show the exact opposite to be the case.

    Pew Research Study August 2012.


    The President is working (1.00 / 1) (#156)
    by Politalkix on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:57:22 PM EST
    in the best interest of the majority of people in this country as he is obliged to do-Democrats, Republicans and Independents. This is the reason he seeks out compromise wherever he can with people of all ideological stripes.
    Unfortunately, you get mad whenever he works to address the concerns of people outside your narrow ideological constituency. Get it now!

    Please explain what it means (5.00 / 2) (#157)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:03:40 PM EST
    to "have his back." Does it mean to pledge support for his policies, no matter how good or bad they may be? Or does it mean to pledge support HIM, no matter how good or bad his policies may be?

    Zorba's right. You really have no idea what Democratic policies are. You just think that someone with a "D" next to his name deserves full support.

    And like Zorba, I'm done with you now too.  


    I will not be preached to (1.00 / 4) (#159)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:29:22 AM EST
    about "traditional Democratic policies" by people who have supported President Clinton's "welfare reform" in this blog. You and your self-righteousness can take a hike! I have said that it in the past and will repeat that once more.
    Nobody has asked you to provide "full support" if you do not agree with the President's policies. However, I do think that it is unreasonable to make the claim that the President is only working for the constituencies of billionaires whenever you disagree with what he and other Democrats are doing. The President got elected by a broad coalition; it is not clear from your posts that you understand what the needs and interests of various constituencies in the coalition are.
    I am done with you and Zorba too.

    While it's fine that you don't want to (5.00 / 3) (#160)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:04:22 AM EST
    be preached to by people who supported Clinton's welfare reform, you might want to be sure that the people you're specifically addressing in your comment - shoephone and Zorba - actually did that; I could be wrong, but I don't think either of these commenters were big Bill Clinton fans in general or supporters of his welfare reform in particular.

    That's kind of a problem for your argument, I think.  It seems that whenever someone criticizes Obama for wanting to reform the social insurance programs, they get Clinton welfare reform waved in their faces on the assumption that if the person is a Democrat, he or she must have supported Clinton's policies across the board, and therefore, cannot raise objections to whatever brand of "reform" Obama proposes or supports.

    This is an argument that ABG has regularly made, and it never seems to matter how often he's told that being a Democrat doesn't always mean blanket approval of everything Clinton did, he still uses Clinton as some sort of hypocrisy meter.

    This part of one of your comments:

    Yes, the most deprived and the most idealistic voters in the country have the President's back more strongly than you do.

    just doesn't make sense to me, and clearly it made no sense to either Zorba or shoephone.  

    It got worse when you said, by way of explanation:

    I have said that he is coming though for Democrats who have his back.

    But he isn't coming through for those deprived people, is he?  Or for those on fixed incomes, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?  And he isn't coming through for people who think targeted killings, more intrusions on privacy, less accountability, little transparency, back-room deals with the corporate elite, failure to bring anyone of significance from Wall Street and the big banks to justice, failure to offer meaningful relief to the thousands scammed by mortgage lenders, and get the housing market out of the hole it's in, failure to offer leadership on our still-shameful unemployment rate, is he?  

    So, if the "deprived" and the idealists have his back, how is he coming through for them?

    He's not.  Which is why the whole thing comes back to blind loyalty - how could it not?

    Follow the money - look to where and for whom the benefits of his policies are accruing - compare what he says with what he does, and who he does it for.  You'll find some answers there, if you want to see them.


    I can't speak for shoephone, (5.00 / 3) (#161)
    by Zorba on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:15:42 AM EST
    But I disapproved of Clinton's Welfare Reform, and I was no fan of Bill Clinton himself.  He was way too centrist.  Actually, I would call him "center-right," and I would characterize Obama the same way.

    Not only did I NOT support (5.00 / 4) (#162)
    by shoephone on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:28:59 PM EST
    Clinton's welfare reform -- his welfare reform policy was the final straw that led me to NOT vote for Clinton in 1996! Anybody who knows me and knew me back then knows that I HATED Clinton's presidency AND his entire triangulation nonsense!! I was one of his biggest critics!

    But, hey, I just love it when people make wild assumptions about people when they know NOTHING about them or what they really believe, or what they actually have done.

    Politalkix, you are nothing but a f*cking joke. And that's being charitable.


    I voted for (5.00 / 2) (#163)
    by Zorba on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:19:26 PM EST
    the Green Party in 1996 (and yes, for others besides shoephone, whom I'm sure remembers, it was Ralph Nader).  ;-)
    Same again in 2000, because I didn't trust Gore not to be like Clinton, and I absolutely could not abide Joe Lieberman.
    Yes, there are more than a few commenters on this site who make assumptions about people that they know absolutely nothing about.  

    OK, Anne (1.00 / 2) (#166)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:54:14 PM EST
    I had talked about President Clinton's welfare reform a few weeks ago link. Got a "2" rating from zorba, shoephone and sj. Yman #whose posts I do not answer# defended President Clinton's welfare reform by saying that he had campaigned on it #Not surprising, since to Yman Pres Clinton has never done anything wrong in his life# He got a "5" rating from sj, Towanda, MO Blue and lentinel. Teresa defended the "welfare reform". After I posted a link from the NY Times about the hardships that Pres Clinton's welfare reform had caused, I did not hear a squeak from zorba, sj, lentinel, MO Blue or shoephone. Make what you will about their positions, however based on their ratings, I had to conclude that they disagreed with me and agreed with what Pres Clinton did.
    If Zorba and Shoephone were opposed to welfare reform, good for them. I will be happy to take back my criticism of them on the "welfare reform" issue.

    I will have to disagree with you regarding the rest of your post. You and me are from different age groups, occupations and have different life experiences. Many things that are litmus test issues of progressivism to you are hardly defining issues of progressivism for me compared to other issues.Besides, on the subject of strategies, we could not be further apart!


    More ridiculous claims (5.00 / 2) (#171)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:53:27 PM EST
    I had talked about President Clinton's welfare reform a few weeks ago link. Got a "2" rating from zorba, shoephone and sj. Yman #whose posts I do not answer# defended President Clinton's welfare reform by saying that he had campaigned on it #Not surprising, since to Yman Pres Clinton has never done anything wrong in his life

    See if you can tell the difference between defending the substance of welfare reform and what I did, which was to point out the fact that Clinton followed through on his campaign promise to reform welfare.  You were attempting to defend Obama with your tired, old defense that he's better than "Democrats of previous decades".

    Your favorite Democrats of previous decades have inked rotten deals. BHO has not done anything of that sort yet.

    I was pointing out that (IMO) not only was the ACA a "rotten deal", but it was in direct violation of what Obama promised ... back when he wanted people's votes.

    BTW - I disagreed with many of the provisions of PRWA, but Clinton was dealing with a Republican Congress and Senate and he had vetoed two prior bills and the last version was passe with large majorities (enough to override a veto).  Moreover, your link from the NYT was an opinion piece that cited one opponent of the the PRWA as claiming that current problems were created/exacerbated by the PRWA - 16 years later and four years into the second largest recession in history - also 4 years after Obama took office.

    You also left out one, important part -
    turns out that Obama is a big fan of the PRWA.

    President Obama spoke favorably of the program in his 2008 campaign -- promoting his role as a state legislator in cutting the Illinois welfare rolls. But he has said little about it as president.

    Go figure.

    Make what you will about their positions, however based on their ratings, I had to conclude that they disagreed with me and agreed with what Pres Clinton did.  If Zorba and Shoephone were opposed to welfare reform, good for them. I will be happy to take back my criticism of them on the "welfare reform" issue.

    Looks like you can take back your criticism of them anytime.


    I answered your standard defense (3.67 / 3) (#169)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:26:48 PM EST
    "But, But Clinton Is Worse" of Obama's policies.

    Your comment to me:

    Thank God (2.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Politalkix on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:05:38 PM CST
    our current President does not negotiate like great Democratic negotiator-in-chiefs of previous decades that the "traditional Democrats" in TL revere.
    All your tall talk is not going to cover up the fact that traditional Democrats agreed to raising the age of eligibility for drawing SS benefits in 1983, gutting welfare in 1995 and handing over the keys of the candy store to "the masters of the universe" through reductions in capital gains tax (through which the ultra rich make most of their money) in 1998.
    Putting something on the table is not the same as inking a deal. Your favorite Democrats of previous decades have inked rotten deals. BHO has not done anything of that sort yet.

    My response:  

    You have absolutely no idea of (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by MO Blue on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:25:37 PM CST
    who my favorite Democrat(s) of previous decades might be or whether I agreed/disagreed with the deals you referenced.

    We do agree on one thing. Initial offerings in a negotiation process is not the same thing as finalizing a deal.

    Just another example of you making sh!t up rather than addressing the actual issue being discussed.

    Do us both a favor leave my name out of your comments. Justify your position without whining and using me as a scapegoat for your distortions.


    MO Blue, (4.00 / 4) (#170)
    by Zorba on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:34:34 PM EST
    he (she?) is not the only commenter who seems to want to use some of our names in his/her comments.  And it's getting really, really old.  They would all do well to justify their positions without "whining and using me (us) as a scapegoat for your (their) distortions."
    When people have no reasonable, factual arguments, they tend to fall back on attacking those who disagree with them.

    Your name was in my comment (1.00 / 2) (#172)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:54:00 PM EST
    because you rated my comment.Stop rating or commenting on my posts, I will also forget you. It is that simple. Same with your other friends.

    As indicated, you commented on my post (5.00 / 2) (#174)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:11:43 PM EST
    with your "but, but Clinton did it" not the other way around.

    Leave my name totally out of your comments, do not comment on any of my posts, you can even continue to rate all of my comments with 1s (I don't care)
    and as I informed you in the past, I will pretend that you do not exist. I really prefer it that way. If you choose to continue to use my name in your posts or continue to make inane comments to my posts, I will respond by pointing out the inaccuracies of your statements. The choice is up to you.


    Could you point out the part ... (5.00 / 3) (#175)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:18:41 PM EST
    ... where you said that Obama's "out to get you"?

    I must've missed it, along with all those other things you never said.


    Sometime you just have to wonder (5.00 / 3) (#177)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:36:06 PM EST
    how there can be any straw left. ;o)  

    There is nothing for me (1.00 / 1) (#173)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:10:49 PM EST
    to discuss or justify. If you feel concerned that the President is out to get you, who am I to try to convince you otherwise? Have at it! Infact I may even go so far in support to tell you that "let whatever you are thinking, come true"!  
    Or, better still-from now onwards, I will just skip your posts and those of a few others. I think it will work out best for everybody.

    I believe in a Democratic Party (4.40 / 5) (#154)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:28:40 PM EST
    that is actually "Democratic."  Please work on understanding the difference between party hacks, and people who actually believe in what the Democratic Party used to espouse.
    And I am sick and tired of your denigration of anyone who does not agree with you and toe what you seem to believe is
    "the party line."
    You are welcome to your opinions, and I am welcome to mine.  We have nothing further to say to one another.  Good night, and good luck.

    There is not one iota (5.00 / 5) (#134)
    by sj on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:51:13 PM EST
    of dishonesty in shoephone's post.  Nor are you being dishonest.  The truth is shoephone is talking about the traditional Democratic base.  While you are talking about the current Democratic base.  When you talk about "young people" you mean young people who haven't lived long enough to know when things were different.  When you talk about "minority voters" you are talking about identity politics.  You mention single issues that could be make or break for some people but you don't have a clue that those are "hanging on by the fingertips" issues.

    Nowhere do you evince any understanding of the common good.  Nowhere do you evince any understanding of the sacrifices those just one or two generations above us made to have a 40 hour work week, and vacation time, and safe work places and payment in real money instead of company scrip, and the hope of a better future for the generations to come.

    I'm expect you take advantage of those hard-won benefits and assume they just arose out of nothing.  And they will always be there.

    You're being honest.  And I still consider you Exihibit A.


    Except for the fact that (none / 0) (#135)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:05:08 AM EST
    people making between $100,000-$450,000 a year are still mostly Republican voters, not Democratic voters.

    Well, that's true (none / 0) (#136)
    by sj on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:15:41 AM EST
    The batsh!t crazy ones anyway.  Those still relatively sane have found a nice comfy home in the New Democratic Party.

    The rest of us are told to suck it up because the "other guy is worse".  And he is and he was.  That doesn't make Less Bad equal to Good.


    You did it to yourself (none / 0) (#131)
    by shoephone on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:49:02 PM EST
    After your comment #118, I find it impossible to take anything you say seriously.

    I care not a whit (none / 0) (#133)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:58:20 PM EST
    about how you view my posts. I thought that was clear by this time.

    A few more benefits for Obama's (5.00 / 2) (#138)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:53:45 AM EST
    true constituents contained in the fiscal cliff legislation:

    5) Subsidies for Goldman Sachs Headquarters - Sec. 328 extends "tax exempt financing for  York Liberty Zone," which was a program to provide post-9/11 recovery funds. Rather than going to small businesses affected, however, this was, according to Bloomberg, "little more than a subsidy for fancy Manhattan apartments and office towers for Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Corp." Michael Bloomberg himself actually thought the program was excessive, so that's saying something. According to David Cay Johnston's The Fine Print, Goldman got $1.6 billion in tax free financing for its new massive headquarters through Liberty Bonds.

    1. $9B Off-shore financing loophole for banks - Sec. 322 is an "Extension of the Active Financing Exception to Subpart F." Very few tax loopholes have a trade association, but this one does. This strangely worded provision basically allows American corporations such as banks and manufactures to engage in certain lending practices and not pay taxes on income earned from it. According to this Washington Post piece, supporters of the bill include GE, Caterpillar, and JP Morgan. Steve Elmendorf, super-lobbyist, has been paid $80,000 in 2012 alone to lobby on the "Active Financing Working Group."

    2. Tax credits for foreign subsidiaries -  Sec. 323 is an extension of the "Look-through treatment of payments between related CFCs under foreign personal holding company income rules." This gibberish sounding provision cost $1.5 billion from 2010 and 2011, and the US Chamber loves it. It's a provision that allows US multinationals to not pay taxes on income earned by companies they own abroad. link

    Also included was making permanent Obama's estate tax give away.  Obama raised the tax free exemption from Bush's $3.5 million to $5 million and lowered the top tax rate from Bush's 45% to 40%. In order to protect their wealth long term the tax free exemption amount will be adjusted each year for inflation.


    Mo, from the "when Pigs fly" file, (5.00 / 2) (#178)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:20:16 PM EST
    Tonight, on the Larry Kudlow Show,.... yes, yes, "Larry Kudlow," even this Vanguard of Everything Wall St. and Everything "Free Market's fame, went into a frothy, blood curdling rant about how Goldman Sachs' treachery vis-à-vis their building subsidy granted by Obama in the "Cliff Compromise, was beyond "Crony Capitalism," it went all the way to "Corruption of the highest order," and to "Corporate Welfare" of the "most disgusting and Anti-American kind."

    Then, in an apparently somber, and heartfelt moment, Larry said something like, " You know, everyone knows, my feelings about finances and free markets, and all. But, what do you say to those people who haven't experienced, for whatever reason, much of the bounty that America has granted to a precious few when one of the Richest Banks in America, in collusion with the President of the United States, conspire to take moneys earmarked for the downtrodden, and hurting, and hand it to those who have more than any Emperor or Pharaoh who ever lived? What....do....you....say....to....them? Disgusting? Shameful? No!....Criminal!

    Larry Kudlow.....

    yup, Larry Kudlow


    True, but ... (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by Yman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:08:15 AM EST
    ... it's much easier to put (straw) words in their mouths and then knock down their arguments than to address their real arguments.

    Reply to Angel #121 n/t (none / 0) (#142)
    by Yman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:09:57 AM EST
    I agree with you (4.00 / 4) (#137)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:50:59 AM EST
    The Jamie Dimons and the "fix the debt CEOS" of this world are in fact Obama's true constituency and he will make sure that he comes through for them.

    Funny how much you and he support protecting the income of the upper 2% and also think it is a great idea that he cut benefits for children, the disabled, and the elderly and tax the working poor to pay for their tax breaks. According to your recent comments they should just suck it up and gladly accept a chained CPI for Obama's greater good.



    And, Senator Sanders? (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by christinep on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:41:33 PM EST
    Also:  Take a gander at the present Senate Deal, and describe the Democratic spending cuts contained in that agreement.  The more that one looks at the details (of what would otherwise require time-consuming negotiations to reach such result) the more interesting it gets...the more one can see why the right-wing blogs evidence such anger over the Deal.

    But...to each his own.


    The right-wing blogs (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by sj on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:58:08 PM EST
    are angry out of habit.  They are the same people that actually believe Obama is a "Communist".  Just study it out.

    You do realize this deal is just the opening (5.00 / 4) (#128)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:34:39 PM EST
    act, right? In a couple of months Congress takes up the sequester. Then you will see cuts, major cuts in spending. And then that old reliable debt ceiling comes around again. And we will see more cuts.

    Your insistence on looking at this deal as if it is a one-time stand-alone deal baffles me.


    Bernie Sanders is a lot of hot air (4.00 / 3) (#123)
    by shoephone on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:09:20 PM EST
    He huffs and puffs about how the little guy is getting screwed, and then... he falls in line. Please don't hand me Sanders as an example of someone who sticks to his guns when it matters.

    Wasn't there some farm bill related (none / 0) (#120)
    by nycstray on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:58:45 PM EST
    thingy attached?

    Milk and Asparagus (none / 0) (#126)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:17:30 PM EST
    House GOP (none / 0) (#77)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:11:56 PM EST
    meeting again in a few minutes. This is when someone with a cooler head (if one exists in the group) does his best Ben Franklin imitation about setting themselves up to be hung separately.

    +1 (n/t) (none / 0) (#65)
    by rdandrea on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:21:39 PM EST
    Could be a power play (none / 0) (#69)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:37:28 PM EST
    taking place. If Boehner puts it up for a vote he may be done as Speaker since it will pass but probably without a majority of the House GOP. Does Cantor have Boehner by the balls?

    Notable by his absence is Paul Ryan.

    The dysfunctional House GOP on full display again.


    Boehner has been done since (none / 0) (#71)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:43:40 PM EST
    Plan B failed.   Cantor is openly sticking it to Boehner now.....

    Jessica Yellin on CNN said (none / 0) (#72)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:45:09 PM EST
    Obama could be calling CEOs to get them to pressure the House Republicans....

    Cantor is appearing like the biggest d*ck of all time......


    I'd like to know who among the House (none / 0) (#73)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:51:58 PM EST
    GOP CNN thinks the CEOs can influence.

    The Tea Partiers are true believers. They will not be swayed by a call from Jamie Dimon. And the rest of the caucus is worried about a Tea Party primary challenger in 2014. So, they will not be receptive to anything Jeff Immelt might have to say.

    No, the only way this passes the House is if Boehner lets it come to a vote without a majority of Repubs in favor, and it passes with overhwelming Democratic support.

    The only question is will Boehner let it come to a floor vote?


    I say no (none / 0) (#86)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:42:26 PM EST
    Boehner is now a figurehead desperately trying to not lose his position as Speaker.  He will follow, not lead.

    I assume that when the four principals (Pelosi, Boehner, Reid and McConnell) met with Obama, when it was decided to have the Senate act first, some assurance had to be given that the House would not reject McConnell's work.

    But no.

    This will be very interesting to see what happens in the next few hours.


    Looks like Boehner et al has found an out (none / 0) (#91)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:21:10 PM EST
    with two bills to vote on. First one for political cover and then a vote on the Senate bill. I don't know whether the first is an amendment to the Senate bill or not but it's expected to fail then move on to the Senate bill.

    More puffery was obviously needed.


    Why the whole mini-revolt? (none / 0) (#130)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:45:39 PM EST
    It makes Cantor more of a rival to Boehner.

    Maybe they were just testing Obama to see if he would cave.


    Consequences (none / 0) (#74)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:52:13 PM EST
    Invisible hand stuff, who knows what discussions the Republican party is having in quiet rooms.  If Cantor pulls a party coup who knows how long the gerrymandered House can hold power?  Crazy as a loon will challenge that precious rigged resource just a little too much.

    Sad what a horrible negotiator Obama has been so far.  I can almost see where he could own these bastards, but his track record would indicate something much more modest.


    MilitaryTracy (none / 0) (#83)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:20:24 PM EST
    How?  Please explain how can Obama own them?

    I am all ears.


    Obama needs to now hold firm (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:44:19 PM EST
    The House has handed him the victory.  They will take the blame if there is no deal.  The House has no where to go to avoid blame when the Senate voted 89-8 in favor of the deal.

    Well it looks like you might get your wish (none / 0) (#96)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:05:56 PM EST
    If the Republican majority congress rejects the deal.

    If they do, Obama boxed them in even more.  They will definitely take the blame.


    I'm completely in agreement (none / 0) (#117)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:54:33 PM EST
    With MKS

    If you're truly open (none / 0) (#122)
    by Towanda on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:04:42 PM EST
    to understanding, please reread the many replies to you.

    I think that you are new to this blog so may not know that there are very smart people here, worth hearing -- if, again, you're really all ears.


    I hear (none / 0) (#146)
    by Jack203 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:13:45 AM EST
    Griping.  Just like the rightwing internet people are doing.  In fact, the rightwing nutters are griping even louder than you.  

    So what do we have here. A deal both the far left and far right hate?

    Considering the alternatives....It sounds good to me.  Some of you are too far left for me.


    This had been another edition of (5.00 / 2) (#158)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:10:59 PM EST
    "The Far Left is Exactly Like the Far Right. All They Do is Gripe!"

    Join us again next week for "How the Reasonable Centrists Are Going to Save America from Those Griping Extremists."


    The ballyhoo and puffery (none / 0) (#98)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:17:40 PM EST
    is coming to an end for a couple days.

    The House has finished some house cleaning and then moving on to the now inappropriately named "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" late this evening.

    I have to admit that all of this (5.00 / 4) (#103)
    by Towanda on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:55:06 PM EST
    Republican temper tantrum may have been worthwhile, if only to hear the phrase "mind-bogglingly stupid" four time in fewer minutes on CNN.

    And there is a certain joy in Eric Cantor outing himself as such a tool that even the conservative blogs in my neck of the woods are being ballistic.

    Dear House Republican caucus:  More cowbell, please!   More cowbell!


    You guys have convinced me I should turn on the TV (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:13:22 PM EST
    for the entertainment value. I'll see how long I can look at Cantor and Boehner, I may not last long.