What’s Next? More Hostage-Taking Of Course

The Budget

Via TPM:

House Republicans are privately contemplating a quiet surrender in the fight over Bush tax rates for top earners, and a quick pivot to a new fight over raising the debt limit, in which they’d demand steep cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security.

The White House’s official position on this plan is: cram it. Officials say they will not negotiate, or pay a ransom. Congress has to raise the debt limit, period.

“I will not play that game,” Obama told the Business Roundtable on Wednesday. “We are not going to play that game next year. We’ve got to break that habit before it starts.”

The ransom that the GOP congressional leadership is demanding is that any new borrowing authority must be accompanied by larger cuts to federal spending – which Dems will have to propose, because Republicans can never name a single program they want to cut except for PBS. This would mean austerity budgeting at a time when it’s a really bad idea for the U.S. economy — risking a repeat of Europe’s self-inflicted crisis.

Speaker John Boehner seems ready to once again threaten us all with total economic collapse. However, according to the Constitution, the Congress does not have the option of refusing to pay for government expenses that have already been authorized by Congress. The 14th Amendment states: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law… shall not be questioned.”

The debt ceiling is unconstitutional. The GOP cannot use it to shut down the government.

UPDATE: Top House Republican Speechless When Asked For Specific Fiscal Cliff Spending Cuts

UPDATE: Josh Marshall: “We’re headed for the Mother of All Government Shutdowns.”

  1. #1 by Nathan Erkkila on December 5, 2012 - 3:49 pm

    It’s their seat at stake, not Obama’s

  2. #2 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 5, 2012 - 4:12 pm

    “Health care costs have risen faster than inflation for
    decades. This rising cost trend has contributed to steady
    increases in the amounts spent on Medicare and Medicaid,
    while also making it more difficult for people to afford
    private health insurance…
    health care costs are likely to continue
    to rise faster than inflation as the population ages,
    posing a danger to long-run budget stability”

    “With fewer
    workers to pay the taxes needed to support the retired
    population, budgetary pressures will steadily mount and
    without reforms, trust fund exhaustion is projected by the
    Social Security Trustees to occur in 2036.”

    “The country also faces the challenge of reforming the tax code to make it fairer and simpler and to provide sufficient revenue to meet long-run commitments. Resolving the long-run fiscal challenge will require a comprehensive approach, one that restrains spending growth but also addresses the
    sufficiency of the tax code.”

    “The 2013 Budget includes several
    proposed changes to the tax code that would close
    loopholes and eliminate tax breaks for special interests.
    It also calls on Congress to undertake comprehensive tax
    reform to both lower tax rates and generate new revenues.”

    “the debt-to-
    GDP ratio over that time period, the deficit and the debtratio
    begin to rise again in the period after 2022, with the
    debt-to-GDP ratio eventually far exceeding its previous
    peak level reached at the end of World War II.”

    - The President’s Budget

    So what The President is saying is that the debt to GDP ratio under his plan will crush the country. Cuts to Social Security and Medicare must be made. And The rate code needs to be reformed to include lower rates and fewer loopholes.

    So the President is saying EXACTLY THE SAME THING as Boehner is saying. So why is Boehner the bad guy and Obama the good guy when Obama is just kicking the can down the road and Boehner is saying fix the problems now?

  3. #3 by Shane on December 5, 2012 - 4:22 pm

    I don’t think you can tell the GOP fact checker types that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional. They know the constitution pretty well. It was written by Jebuz after all, and faxed down from heaven. It doesn’t say “healthcare” in it anywhere, but it does say guns damnit! So there….

  4. #4 by Richard Warnick on December 5, 2012 - 5:13 pm

    I suspect that vague language was put in the budget simply to call the GOP’s bluff. What is Speaker Boehner offering to cut from the budget? He hasn’t even said Big Bird has to go. But he has said he won’t raise taxes on the rich.

    The so-called “fiscal cliff” looks pretty good to me! For one thing, it’s probably the only way we’ll get taxes back to Clinton rates and the only way to rein in Pentagon spending.

  5. #5 by cav on December 5, 2012 - 5:16 pm

    Well, I guess it’s progress to have gotten from ‘both sides do it’ all the way to ‘they’re EXACTLY THE SAME THING’.

  6. #6 by Larry Bergan on December 5, 2012 - 6:02 pm

    “I will not play that game,” Obama told the Business Roundtable on Wednesday. “We are not going to play that game next year. We’ve got to break that habit before it starts.”

    Now THAT’S the Obama I’ve been waiting for!

    I cannot wait for Elizabeth Warren to question the bankers. The bankers must be beside themselves right now after all the money they spent to defeat her.

    Michael Moore’s headline today is:

    Wall Street’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day

    I love it!

    Scott Brown probably hasn’t gotten out of bed since the election.

    If the Republicans know what’s good for them, they’ll sit down, shut up and reflect on the errors of their ways.

  7. #7 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 5, 2012 - 7:30 pm

    “But he has said he won’t raise taxes on the rich.”
    Pants on Fire!

    Proof:
    ” Now, the revenues that we are putting on the table are going to come from guess who? The rich.”
    John Boehner – December 5, 2012

  8. #8 by Larry Bergan on December 5, 2012 - 8:10 pm

    I’m not sure how somebody did these videos, and you KNOW they’re not real or they would have been played wall-to-wall on the fake news channel, but if you want a laugh; watch this:

    And this.

  9. #9 by Richard Warnick on December 5, 2012 - 9:33 pm

    When it comes to taxes on the rich Speaker Boehner has put NOTHING on the table. White House Spokesman Jay Carney called the idea that unspecified FUTURE tax reform measures could bring in $800 billion “magic beans and fairy dust.” Which is an accurate description.

  10. #10 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 5, 2012 - 9:52 pm

    Wow, Jay Carney says so? It must be true!

    Who’s your next source, Jane Fonda?

  11. #11 by Richard Warnick on December 5, 2012 - 9:56 pm

    brewski–

    Can you explain why Democrats are desperately begging the Republicans to go along with making the Bush tax cuts permanent? It’s like the GOP health care bill, and the GOP cap and trade bill. Dems are trying to enact Republican policy but the Republicans refuse to vote for it.

  12. #12 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 5, 2012 - 10:00 pm

    ‘What we said was, give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes — tax rates — but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base.’”

    - Barack Hussein Obama
    New York Times, 12/4/12

  13. #13 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 5, 2012 - 10:35 pm

    I’m still trying to figure out why you say things which are verifiably false all the time.

  14. #14 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 7:42 am

    brewski–

    President Obama said that in July 2011, and you know it.

    L.A. Times: Check that: President Obama does want to raise tax rates on the rich (emphasis added):

    At a White House news conference Wednesday, Obama reiterated his call for the House to pass a Senate bill renewing the Bush tax cuts for everyone making less than $200,000 (for individuals) or $250,000 (for couples). Doing so would remove “half the danger to our economy” that the “fiscal cliff” poses, Obama said. The next steps would be to simplify the tax code and reform the healthcare entitlements that are the biggest long-term budget problem. “But what I’m not going to do,” Obama said, “is to extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% that we can’t afford and, according to economists, will have the least positive impact on our economy.”

    When asked if he’d accept a plan that raises taxes on the wealthy by ending some deductions and loopholes instead of raising rates, Obama said he wanted to do both — winnow the thicket of tax breaks and raise tax rates on the rich. “When it comes to the top 2%, what I’m not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don’t need it, which would cost close to a trillion dollars,” he said.

    ABC News: No Fiscal Deal Without Higher Tax Rates On Rich, Obama Says

    President Obama today declared there would be no deal to avert the looming fiscal cliff unless Republicans agree to raise rates on the top 2 percent of income-earners.

    “If we’re going to raise revenues that are sufficient to balance with the very tough cuts that we’ve already made and the further reforms in entitlements that I’m prepared to make, that we’re going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up. And we’re not going to be able to get a deal without it,” he told Bloomberg News in his first interview since the election.

    “It’s not me being stubborn. It’s not me being partisan. It’s just a matter of math,” he added.

    Time Magazine: Obama Won’t Budge on Top Tax Rates

    “The issue right now that’s relevant is the acknowledgment that if we’re going to raise revenues that are sufficient to balance with the very tough cuts that we’ve already made, and the further reforms in entitlements that I’m prepared to make, that we’re going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up,” Obama told Bloomberg Television’s Juliana Goldman. “And we’re not going to be able to get a deal without it.” The President has already vowed to veto a deal that doesn’t include such a provision.

  15. #15 by cav on December 6, 2012 - 9:16 am

    Totally brilliant:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6ZsXrzF8Cc&feature=player_embedded

    (From Cali Teachers’ Assn, narr by Ed Asner)

  16. #16 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 9:16 am

    Thank you for proving for me that Obama is a flip flopper, liar, and panderer.

    If he could raise $1.2 Trillion in revenue by not raising rates in 2011, then why does he say that is not possible now? Is it possible that he just lies like you all the time?

  17. #17 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 9:18 am

    “It also calls on Congress to undertake comprehensive tax
    reform to both lower tax rates and generate new revenues.”

    The President’s Budget 2013

  18. #18 by cav on December 6, 2012 - 9:28 am

    Large groups of CEO’s are now calling for tax increases on the top 2%. A group of defense industry executives support the same tax increases plus are advocating for $150 billion reduction in the defense budget.

    Republican Party digs in its heels and says “no way!”

  19. #19 by cav on December 6, 2012 - 9:41 am

    But, our economy will faulter!!!

    Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/world/middleeast/us-foreign-arms-sales-reach-66-3-billion-in-2011.html?_r=0

  20. #20 by Cav's psychoanalyst on December 6, 2012 - 9:57 am

    Easy to quote half of what people say. These CEO’s are also calling for reform of all the entitlement programs. How come you don’t quote them and home come no reform is being proposed by the Holy One?

    “Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here.”

    - Warren Buffett

  21. #21 by cav's psychoanalyst's psychoanalyst on December 6, 2012 - 10:12 am

    Say What?

  22. #22 by Cav's psychoanalyst on December 6, 2012 - 10:28 am

    The CEO’s you quote would pay more taxes under a 39.6% unreformed code than at a 35% reformed code. These guys benefit the most under the current code which allows them to pay very little at the top rate. They like the current code which benefits them so raising the rate doesn’t affect them. Reform the code and they would pay a lot more.

  23. #23 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 10:33 am

    You can find numerous instances of President Obama kowtowing* to Republicans in a desperate attempt to keep them from destroying our economy (again).

    But now we have the so-called “fiscal cliff” on our side, a deficit-reduction program already passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.

    Howard Dean predicts the nation can weather a short, mild recession after going over the “cliff” and come out the better for having done so. I think he’s right.

    There is no deal to be made with the Republicans that will cause all the Bush-Obama Tax Cuts For The Rich to expire or reduce Pentagon spending by any significant amount (usually what they call a defense budget “cut” is only a reduction in the rate of increase). Luckily, we don’t need the two major political parties to negotiate.

    (* Also known as “cow-toweling” here on One Utah)

  24. #24 by Cav's psychoanalyst on December 6, 2012 - 10:41 am

    The CEO’s you quote would pay less taxes under a 39.6% unreformed code than at a 35% reformed code. These guys benefit the most under the current code which allows them to pay very little at the top rate. They like the current code which benefits them the most so raising the rate doesn’t affect them. Reform the code and they would pay a lot more.

  25. #25 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 11:11 am

    Josh Marshall:

    Republicans realize that the top marginal tax rate is going up. This isn’t even a matter of them ‘caving’ or the President ‘winning’. Current law says they’re going up. And there’s no way to prevent that without a new law and the President’s signature. So it’s not just happening. For all intents and purposes it already has happened.

    The only question is how quickly and under what circumstances everyone else’s tax cuts will be extended. Indeed, made permanent. House Republicans can prevent those tax cuts by preventing such a bill from being voted in the House. But that’s no more than the power to put a gun to your own head and threaten to shoot.

    As for what’s next if Speaker Boehner takes the debt ceiling hostage, Marshall writes:

    The President says he won’t negotiate. And I believe him. But he did little more than a year ago so House Republicans likely think that if they threaten enough damage to the national economy, he’ll give in. Hill Republicans believe this president always caves. So if the president won’t agree to negotiate, that means a major showdown and perhaps genuine crisis will arise as early as January and certainly by February.

  26. #26 by Cav's psychoanalyst on December 6, 2012 - 11:19 am

    “You can find numerous instances of President Obama kowtowing to Republicans in a desperate attempt to keep them from destroying our economy (again).”
    The arithmetic worked then and it works now. He is just kowtowing to his donor base.

    “But now we have the so-called “fiscal cliff” on our side, a deficit-reduction program already passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.”
    You mean the one the President distanced himself from as though he has nothing to do with it and doesn’t support?

    “Howard Dean predicts the nation can weather a short, mild recession after going over the “cliff” and come out the better for having done so. I think he’s right.”
    Will Howard Dean be one of the 2 million made unemployed? Will you be one of the 2 million made unemployed? Is Howard Dean some expert on recessions? You say the GOP destroyed the US economy (when in fact it was Greenspan, Geithner and that crowd) but you are fine with the Dems destroying the US economy.

    “There is no deal to be made with the Republicans that will cause all the Bush-Obama Tax Cuts For The Rich to expire or reduce Pentagon spending by any significant amount (usually what they call a defense budget “cut” is only a reduction in the rate of increase). Luckily, we don’t need the two major political parties to negotiate.”
    Obama and everyone else uses the same BS to mean “cut” and you know it. They call “deficit reduction” to mean just a $10 trillion deficit and not a $14 trillion dollar deficit. He also calls and you also call “cuts” to Social Security which are not cuts at all, but just slowing the increase in benefits. So the lie you point out on the GOP is the same lie you make and the same lie Obama makes.

  27. #27 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 11:30 am

    I just hope that the Republicans can’t get away with hostage-taking anymore. If the Dems cave again, progressives will not be forgiving.

  28. #28 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 11:42 am

    Cave on what? Insisting on bad policy that will hurt the country?

    No, you can count on the Dems to stick to that.

  29. #29 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 12:19 pm

    The inside-the-Beltway mentality is always at odds with what the majority of Americans want.

    For example, I think most Washington politicians are OK with changing the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67, as Speaker Boehner has suggested. But the latest Quinnipiac poll shows a majority of Americans are opposed, and 70 percent are against any Medicare cuts at all.

  30. #30 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    For example, I think most Washington politicians are OK with kicking the can down the road and not avoiding the certain mathematical catastrophe which we are facing.

    The majority of Americans are opposed to catastrophe.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-gibson/democrats-embrace-entitlement-reform_b_2220123.html

  31. #31 by cav's psychoanalyst's psychoanalyst on December 6, 2012 - 1:13 pm

    So basically what you’re saying is that while you occasionally lay out cogent arguments, even getting it right now and again, and significant fact packages, your are still looked down upon because you have this difficulty making these arguments without insulting and derogating those you are attempting to sway.

    Is the couch comfortable enough?

  32. #32 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 1:16 pm

    The majority of Americans know that “entitlement reform” = CUTS. To Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid earned benefits. Not acceptable, when all you have to do is raise taxes to pay for these programs, and/or lower the cost of health care.

    Washington politicians are heading toward a so-called “Grand Bargain” that will include a token tax increase on the wealthy, and big cuts to the social safety net that will destroy the American middle class. Well, we never got the trickle but they want to stick us with the bill for the tax holiday of the 1 Percent. It’s like paying for a party that you never got invited to.

    Carl Gibson, from the link brewski posted:

    If the Republicans are expecting us to cut back health care and pensions that people have been paying into their whole lives with each paycheck, in return for agreeing that the richest among us should pay a proportional share of their income in taxes like everyone else, then we should rightfully say, “tough luck.”

  33. #33 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 2:04 pm

    CUTS? What cuts? Or do you mean smaller increases than you want? You are playing the Obama lie game.

    Obama has no proposed to lower the cost of healthcare. Quite the opposite. So he has no credibility to speak.

    Without entitlement reform we will have no country. Read the President’s Budget.

  34. #34 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 2:05 pm

    The quote from Mr. Gibson is nonsensical. No one is proposing what he is criticizing, so it is a pointless argument.

  35. #35 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 2:06 pm

    If you are talking about the proposal for “chained CPI” yes, that is a cut. When benefits don’t keep up with inflation, retirees are left with less.

    2013 COLA Demonstrates Why Proposed Social Security “Tweaks” Are Actually Benefit Cuts for Millions

    You linked to Gibson. I guess you didn’t understand that the headline was ironic.

  36. #36 by cav's psychoanalyst's psychoanalyst on December 6, 2012 - 2:07 pm

    I’d agree with you Richard, except to say we don’t know what kind of turkey they will put out. Everyone from Alan Simpson to Al Gore (it seems) is scratching away at the proverbial table, in hopes of having some say in the final shape. Money will no doubt have its $ay, but really, as yet, there’s no telling. See; all the ridiculous back and forth related to the Health Care deal, replete with the death panels and other hoo-hah. In fact, we may not really know for years to come.

  37. #37 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 2:10 pm

    Why would you be against increase SS by CPI?

  38. #38 by cav on December 6, 2012 - 2:11 pm

    Who knows, it’s probably being written as I write, by a ratings agency of world renown. One of the ‘Biggies.’

  39. #39 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 2:12 pm

    Your link does exactly what you said is wrong. It refers to increases as being “cuts” when they are in fact increases. So if you can’t speak English, then discussion is impossible.

  40. #40 by Cav's psychoanalyst on December 6, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    Cav,
    I learned my tone and style from Cliff, Shane and Glenden. Talk to them about it.

  41. #41 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 2:16 pm

    Currently, Social Security COLA is based on the CPI-W. Those who pay close attention to these things think that they ought to use the CPI-E, developed in 1982 to reflect the different spending patterns of consumers age 62 and older.

    “Chained CPI” is a plan to really screw seniors. From the AFL-CIO:

    The proposal to switch to the chained CPI would, over time, slash the benefits of both current and future beneficiaries. Specifically, it would cut the basic benefit—currently averaging a modest $13,500 for all beneficiaries—and break the bipartisan promise not to cut the benefits of current seniors.

  42. #42 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 2:25 pm

    It’s not Speaker Boehner’s proposal alone, but he did put it in his letter to President Obama, so he gets the stupidity award.

    Raising the Medicare Age Is a Uniquely Terrible Idea

    Having these older people still in the private market would raise premiums for everyone who gets private insurance. Removing these young seniors from Medicare risk pool would also require increasing premiums for everyone else in the program.

    Basically any other mechanism to impose austerity on people between the ages of 65-67 would produce a less bad outcome. Even raising taxes on this group or making them pay higher Medicare premiums instead would at least result in roughly a one dollar reduction in the deficit for every one dollar this group lost.

    The fact that this idea has so much traction, despite it being such a radically inefficient way to reduce the deficit, shows how this debate is more about just forcing suffering on regular people than actuarial projections.

  43. #43 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 2:39 pm

    Richard says:
    “(usually what they call a defense budget “cut” is only a reduction in the rate of increase).”

    Then he says:
    “Specifically, it would cut the basic benefit—”
    when this is only a reduction in the rate of increase.

    Thank you for the example of yourself contradicting yourself. I got a good laugh today.

  44. #44 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 2:45 pm

    You also know that current Medicare beneficiaries only pay for 1/3rd of the benefits they are receiving. So it is a lie to say that they “paid for” these benefits and changing anything is “taking something away” from them.

  45. #45 by cav on December 6, 2012 - 3:49 pm

    Cliff, Shane and Glendon should then be punished. I’m so sorry for you – it must suck.

  46. #46 by Nathan Erkkila on December 6, 2012 - 3:52 pm

    You know? You can call yourself brewski and it would be a lot less annoying.

  47. #47 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    brewski–

    What’s funny is the thought of the Pentagon trying to get by on a COLA. Their budget has doubled since 2001.

  48. #48 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 4:20 pm

    That’s what happens when you are fighting a “war of necessity”, as the commander in chief called it.

  49. #49 by cav on December 6, 2012 - 4:57 pm

    By ‘necessity’, I have the feeling he may have been referring to the sad fact that we were already mired in that travesty. Maybe too, a reference to the overly large segment of our economy that is reliant on war.

    Just sayin’.

  50. #50 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 5:45 pm

    No. He meant that the US had no choice but to invade Afghanistan. He was contrasting it with Iraq, where we could have tolerated the genocidal mass murderer.

  51. #51 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 6:10 pm

    By “necessity,” he meant that even after Afghanistan had become the longest war in U.S. history, Osama bin Laden was nowhere to be found.

    But now it’s all over and time to pack it up. Our sometime “ally” Karzai is showing us the door. He knows the Taliban aren’t going anywhere, but at some point the Americans have to head back home.

  52. #52 by cav on December 6, 2012 - 7:09 pm

    “No. He meant that the US had no choice but to invade Afghanistan. He was contrasting it with Iraq, where we could have tolerated the genocidal mass murderer.”

    Oh, I thought you were referring to our present CiC. Not George W. Bush – in which case you are absolutely correct. The genocidal mass murderers being GW and cohorts.

  53. #53 by Richard Warnick on December 6, 2012 - 9:08 pm

    Pop quiz: who caused the deaths of more Iraqis — Saddam or George W. Bush?

    BTW if you exclude war costs, the Pentagon’s base budget only went up by a factor of 1.9.

  54. #54 by cav on December 6, 2012 - 9:28 pm

    Are we factoring out incubator babied thrown to the hospital floors by Saddam’s elite guard? How about those deaths caused by sanctions? They could be in both columns…or neither.

  55. #55 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 6, 2012 - 9:35 pm

    Lincoln killed more people than Davis. So what?

  56. #56 by Larry Bergan on December 6, 2012 - 9:36 pm

    Jeb for pres, 2016. :)

  57. #57 by cav on December 6, 2012 - 9:44 pm

    Get away from me!

  58. #58 by Richard Warnick on December 7, 2012 - 9:45 am

    brewski–

    The point is, you can’t call Saddam a war criminal unless you apply the same rules to every head of state. George W. Bush was never brought to trial why?

    And you never addressed the issue of Pentagon budget bloat versus CPI.

  59. #59 by Cav's psychoanalyst on December 7, 2012 - 10:28 am

    Then I guess we can call Wilson, FDR, Truman, LBJ all “war criminals” on the kindergarten-Warnick rule.

    All killing is not equal. Gassing your own civilians to suppress them is not the same as killing which happens nation vs nation in enforcement of a violated treaty.

  60. #60 by Richard Warnick on December 7, 2012 - 10:37 am

    (1) It’s ridiculous to argue that the invasion of Iraq was legal. History records that it was a violation of the U.N. Charter.

    (2) Waay off-topic here.

  61. #61 by Cav's psychoanalyst on December 7, 2012 - 10:59 am

    Which part of “conditional surrender” don’t you understand?

    Your topic.

  62. #62 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 7, 2012 - 11:01 am

    Yes, the military is far too big and expensive. What has Obama done in the last 4 years to change that?

  63. #63 by Richard Warnick on December 7, 2012 - 11:28 am

    They aren’t cutting anywhere near enough – but remember Romney attacked President Obama on the fake issue of… not enough dreadnoughts. The Pentagon budget is easy to demagogue.

    But the so-called “fiscal cliff” deficit-reduction plan includes $500 billion in Pentagon budget cuts over the next decade. Only $50 billion a year, but it’s a start.

  64. #64 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 7, 2012 - 11:59 am

    “They aren’t cutting anywhere near enough – but remember Romney attacked President Obama on the fake issue of… not enough dreadnoughts”
    So?

    “But the so-called “fiscal cliff” deficit-reduction plan includes $500 billion in Pentagon budget cuts over the next decade. Only $50 billion a year, but it’s a start.”
    Yes.

  65. #65 by Richard Warnick on December 7, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    The answer to the eloquently-stated question “So?” above is this: “soft on defense” is an easy attack line in an election campaign. So members of Congress, presidents, and other Washington politicians habitually overspend on the Pentagon.

  66. #66 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 7, 2012 - 12:18 pm

    So what you are saying is that Obama has mismanaged the defense department for the last four years for political reasons. I agree.

  67. #67 by Richard Warnick on December 7, 2012 - 1:40 pm

    Congress throws our money at the Pentagon and defense contractors while simultaneously claiming that (1) government spending won’t create jobs, and (2) any reduction in the bloated defense budget will cost jobs.

    President Obama didn’t want to pay the political price for doing the right thing. Assuming for the sake of argument that he knows what the right thing is.

    For example, the trillion-dollar F-35 is the most expensive weapons system ever, and it’s also unnecessary. But who’s going to stop it?

  68. #68 by Richard Warnick on December 7, 2012 - 2:02 pm

    UPDATE: Josh Marshall: “We’re headed for the Mother of All Government Shutdowns.”

  69. #69 by Richard's Fact Checker on December 7, 2012 - 2:33 pm

    I remember the aftermath of the defense industry cutbacks around 1990 or so after the USSR fell apart. It actually did cost a lot of jobs. But so be it. All of those engineers ended up losing their jobs with Northrop, McDonnell Douglas, etc. and getting new jobs in the telecommunications satellite and high tech. It took a few years but worked out pretty well.

    We need to go through that process again. Base closings, retrenchment. Programs canceling. Let all the national guardsmen and reservists go home.

  70. #70 by cav on December 8, 2012 - 9:33 am

    Well, a reporter analyst on NPR last night came up with a reason to put Social Security on the cutting block.

    See, yes, it’s designed to be self-supporting, BUT, since lots of pols decided to raid the SS fund and use the money for wars and tax cuts for the wealthy, now it has to be paid back. And there’s interest or something on the trust fund money that has to be paid back. So, it really is a general budget issue after all!!!

    Hey, folks, we’ve been BAINED!

    Takeover artists have taken our pension money, just as Mitt and his ilk do, and now we’re told we can’t have our earned benefits.

    Get it? So, it’s right, per the Corporatists, to cut Social Security. Same, but more so for Medicare.

  71. #71 by cav on December 8, 2012 - 11:45 am

    It’s Saturday. one uTah sleeps and goes ‘home’.

    Milk and cookies? Anyone? brewski?

  72. #72 by cav on December 8, 2012 - 1:21 pm

    I’m proud of all the stuff I was going to accomplish today.

    However, when I made the list, I wasn’t aware they had put up another season of Family Ties on Netflix.

    Now where’s the remote again?

  73. #73 by Becky Stauffer on December 8, 2012 - 7:47 pm

    Hi Cav, I noticed your comments and thought I’d announce I’m officially a TAKER myself. As of Dec 1 I’m enrolled in Medicare, though I haven’t seen a dime of it yet. Social Security starts in February and then I’ll be living the good life, eh? And now I find out I’ve been BAINED. Just my luck!

  74. #74 by cav on December 8, 2012 - 9:20 pm

    Hi Becky. I dare say, your making days are not all behind you – by any means.

  75. #75 by Becky Stauffer on December 8, 2012 - 10:02 pm

    Cav, in fact, four weeks from yesterday is my last day of gainful employment. I’ve decided to retire and pay more attention to my grandchildren and my garden. I suppose that’s a sort of making. So looking forward to it.

  76. #76 by brewski on December 8, 2012 - 10:20 pm

    Becky, congratulations. You’ve earned it. Enjoy your grandchildren and your garden.

  77. #77 by Larry Bergan on December 8, 2012 - 10:20 pm

    One person gets BORKED and the rest of us get BAINED.

    So what I’m hearing here is that the Bush wars WERE funded and the media didn’t tell us?

    I’m starting to get pissed.

  78. #78 by Droner in Chief on December 8, 2012 - 10:57 pm

    Problem here with the crickets these days is that Larry and the like have been censoring everything they don’t like that casts obama the cretin that he is, so for the most part, this site is a waste of time

    To continually have weenie insiders pick apart what they don’t like and micro manage the site has made into the piece of shit it has become

    Kudos to you Larry, you are a regular “shitfingers” when it comes to making a site viable, that goes for any of the other censors who are pieces of shit as well, you all know who you are

  79. #79 by Larry Bergan on December 8, 2012 - 11:35 pm

    Guess I’m going to have to feed the troll a little.

    I guess what you think makes OneUtah viable is when commenters change their name every five minutes.

    The only comment I ever deleted here is when you used the name of an honest commenter.

    You’re like a spoiled child who doesn’t want to clean his room, so he knocks things over, pretending to be injured so mom will come in and relent.

    Fuck you.

  80. #80 by Becky Stauffer on December 9, 2012 - 8:29 am

    #77 above, thanks, Brewski.

  81. #81 by cav on December 9, 2012 - 9:11 am

    Make every Congresscritter say they will support this bill.

    http://americablog.com/2012/11/begich-social-security-legislation.html

    Removing the cap is a way to push back on the means testing – like, you want to open this can of worms then ok let’s open it and how do you like them apples. And besides removing the cap there is always the need to be fair by including all types of income, not just salaries and wages. IOW, if the dark side comes after Social Security, counterattack with overwhelming force, because public opinion is heavily tilted against the new robber barons.

  82. #82 by Larry Bergan on December 9, 2012 - 9:39 am

    Becky:

    OneUtah is a war zone of words, so I don’t blame you for getting #77 mixed up with #76.

    I’m guilty of using my ability to censor anybody here, to get rid of a comment that used somebody else’s name.

    Once!

    That causes confusion, because when a comment is disappeared, It messes up the continuity of the conversation.

    I’m not sure what happened here, because I didn’t delete a single comment on this thread, but I wouldn’t take brewski’s comment at 76 seriously, if I were you.

  83. #83 by Becky Stauffer on December 9, 2012 - 9:51 am

    Oops, that’s right, #76 – well for now at least. And I’m with you, Cav, currently at #81 – the cap must be raised. And income should be income. Why do Paris Hilton and Mitt Romney get to pay lower rates than I do?

  84. #84 by brewski on December 9, 2012 - 10:27 am

    Larry,
    Why wouldn’t you take my comment seriously? Have we come to the place where wishing someone well on their retirement can’t be given and received as intended?

    It was and is sincere.

  85. #85 by Larry Bergan on December 9, 2012 - 10:28 am

    Most of us don’t have car elevators. I think that’s a good thing.

  86. #86 by brewski on December 9, 2012 - 10:45 am

    If “income is income”, then there is no need to have the social security tax at all. Just have the income tax and make it bigger since income taxes are on all income. Except that even with the income tax income is not income. With the income tax there is no tax at all on amounts employers pay for employees for health insurance, dental insurance, vision care, life insurance, employer paid portion of social security and medicare, employer match in 401k plan. etc. All of that income to the employee is completely tax free. So under the “income is income” principle, all of that should also be taxed at the full rate. Also under the “income is income” principle we also need to tax interest on municipal bonds.

    Under Simpson Bowles, Romney would not have a lower effective tax rate than Becky. But Obama ignored it and nothing has been done for 4 years. Oh well.

    I’d be very happy with one tax. No separate taxes for different kinds of income. It is all “income is income”. The only deduction allowed is for charitable contributions. No others. One large 0% tax free bracket of $50,000, then a tax on everything else. This would be fair, progressive, simple, collect revenue. But it makes too much sense to get past the bundlers.

  87. #87 by Larry Bergan on December 9, 2012 - 10:50 am

    brewski:

    I’m not sure whether the one comment I censored was you or glenn/whoever, but I can’t tolerate somebody using an honest commenter’s name.

    My name has been the same one I was born with.

  88. #88 by brewski on December 9, 2012 - 4:01 pm

    I am sure it isn’t you, but someone who is very insecure has censored lots of my posts. Apparently data, evidence and equality are too much to handle.

  89. #89 by Becky Stauffer on December 9, 2012 - 4:12 pm

    By the way, I sincerely appreciate kind wishes from anyone who sends them. Brewski and I have butted heads plenty of times, but I like to think it’s not personal.

  90. #90 by Larry Bergan on December 9, 2012 - 4:43 pm

    Loud political debate is loud; never dangerous.

  91. #91 by cav on December 9, 2012 - 5:40 pm

    Well then Becky… ditto whatever it was that brewski wrote. Apparently he can be right on occasion.

  92. #92 by cav on December 9, 2012 - 6:00 pm

    Why is no one talking about eliminating the SS cap altogether, and including unearned income? Shrink the defense, impose a transaction or ‘Robin Hood’ fee, and problem solved.

  93. #93 by Becky Stauffer on December 9, 2012 - 6:00 pm

    Thanks, Cav. He wished me well in retirement. And I plan to cash in on all such wishes. :)

  94. #94 by cav on December 9, 2012 - 6:10 pm

    Four weeks and counting.

    It’s really no big deal – except the garden and grandkids will dig the attention. All the best.

  95. #95 by cav on December 10, 2012 - 8:34 am

    Bless Sherrod Brown:

    BROWN: …When Newt Gingrich had a chance or President Bush had a chance, they wanted to shift costs onto beneficiaries by in part turning Social Security over to Wall Street. There has been a movement among conservative Republicans of a bit of a distaste for Social Security (edit: only a slight understatement) and Medicare. They’re public programs that are successful, and if it’s proven that these public programs are successful, it sort of undercuts their view that government can’t do anything right.

    Government has never been late on a social security check in 75 years since its first payment in 1940.

    We have seen two very successful public programs and there are always efforts to shift costs.

    BRZEZINSKI: But they’re unsustainable.

    BROWN: I don’t buy that they’re not sustainable any more than the defense budget is not sustainable. We owe billions of dollars down the line, of course. We can fix these things with changes at the margins without radical surgery.

  96. #96 by brewski on December 10, 2012 - 8:50 am

    Read the President’s Budget.
    It’s arithmetic.

  97. #97 by Richard Warnick on December 10, 2012 - 11:48 am

    Maybe we ought to ask inf the Pentagon budget is sustainable. They are spending a trillion dollars on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is more than a decade late, and twice as expensive as originally projected.

  98. #98 by brewski on December 10, 2012 - 12:00 pm

    That should be asked.

    That does not change the math on SS and medicare.

  99. #99 by Richard Warnick on December 10, 2012 - 12:59 pm

    Social Security is 100 percent OK until the surplus runs out in 2042, using projections from the Social Security trustees, or 2052, using estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. If you want to fix it before then, simply raise the cap on how much income is taxed.

    Medicare is also just fine until 2024, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. If you want to fix it before then, expand the coverage to all age groups and we’ll have a single-payer system like other developed nations. It’s crazy that we have to pay double for the same or worse heath care outcomes.

  100. #100 by brewski on December 10, 2012 - 1:36 pm

    Saying social security is OK is like saying the Greek pension plan is OK or that that the Soviet Republic of Estonia is OK. You are not OK if the greater entity of which you are a part is not OK. Saying that SS is OK assumes the US Treasury has the means to pay back all of those trillions it owes. Can you point out to me where all of that will come from? If The President’s Budget says it is not OK then why do you know more than the President?

    As for “simply raise the cap on how much income is taxed” why does The President Budget not suggest this? If this is so “simple” then where is the bill? Where is the support for this lining up and calling their congresspeople to please raise the cap?

    Medicare beneficiaries pay for 1/3 of their benefits. This is not OK.

    ” It’s crazy that we have to pay double for the same or worse heath care outcomes.”
    Yes, why didn’t Obamacare fix this? He said it would. He lied.

  101. #101 by Richard Warnick on December 10, 2012 - 1:54 pm

    I don’t know if President Obama has enough will to directly oppose the campaign to destroy Social Security and Medicare in the name of “austerity.” Maybe he’ll look for middle ground.

    But it’s a fact that Social Security and Medicare are not in trouble now, and not contributing to budget deficits.

  102. #102 by brewski on December 10, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    I thought you said it was “simple”.

    “But it’s a fact that Social Security and Medicare are not in trouble now, and not contributing to budget deficits.”
    That is a bit like saying Bernie Madoff’s fund is just fine as long as people putting in more money.

  103. #103 by Richard Warnick on December 10, 2012 - 2:40 pm

    All these problems, whether it’s the federal budget, taxes, or how to fix Medicare 12 years from now, are simple to solve. What’s hard is overcoming the special interests who are causing the problems!

    Private-equity billionaire Peter G. Peterson alone has spent half a billion dollars trying to kill Social Security and Medicare.

  104. #104 by brewski on December 10, 2012 - 3:11 pm

    How come when I propose any solution you dismiss it out of hand and then give me a lecture about “political realities” and “the world we live in” and how you don’t want to waste time thinking about solutions that won’t get past the lobbyists. Well, you just did.

  105. #105 by Richard Warnick on December 10, 2012 - 3:35 pm

    The difference is you want a complete overhaul of the tax code, and I just want Congress to do nothing.

    Jon Walker on FDL:

    Most of the things Obama is publicly saying he wants will either happen automatically, can be accomplished through executive action, or would be all but politically impossible for Republicans to deny him.

  106. #106 by brewski on December 10, 2012 - 4:05 pm

    Complete overhaul of the tax code is easy.

    Step 1: Repeal the entire tax code as it stands today.

    Step 2: Replace it with the Canadian Tax Code.

    I figure we could get this done in 20 minutes.

  107. #107 by Richard Warnick on December 10, 2012 - 4:11 pm

    Unfortunately, given the current exchange rate, we couldn’t save money by paying our taxes in Canadian dollars. :-(

  108. #108 by brewski on December 10, 2012 - 5:25 pm

    They have a real trust fund. We have a fake trust fund.
    http://www.cppib.ca/faqs.html#f1

    I guess those right-wingers up north are just recklessly gambling on Wall Street.

  109. #109 by Larry Bergan on December 10, 2012 - 6:04 pm

    You should have heard Cokie Roberts on NPR this morning talking about “the fiscal cliff”. It sounded like she was reading from the book of revelations.

    Just another tenured pundit I could do without.

    On another note, it looks as though Obama has finally put on his comfortable shoes and is standing up for union rights.

  110. #110 by Richard Warnick on December 10, 2012 - 6:14 pm

    Took him a long time to find those shoes!

  111. #111 by Larry Bergan on December 10, 2012 - 6:31 pm

    Yeah, but they’re made with blue suede, which Republicans aren’t allowed to wear – probably by Grover Norquist..

  112. #112 by brewski on December 10, 2012 - 7:08 pm

    Cokie Roberts is Exhibit A as why nepotism fuels mediocrity.

    Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs was born on December 27, 1943 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received the sobriquet “Cokie” from her brother Tommy, who could not pronounce “Corinne”. Cokie Roberts is the third child and youngest daughter of former ambassador and long-time Democratic Congresswoman from Louisiana Lindy Boggs and of the late Hale Boggs, also a Democratic Congressman from Louisiana who was Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. Her sister, the late Barbara Boggs Sigmund, was mayor of Princeton, New Jersey and a candidate for U.S. Senate from New Jersey. Her brother Tommy Boggs is a prominent Washington, D.C. attorney and lobbyist.

  113. #113 by cav on December 10, 2012 - 7:24 pm

    In the late, great Inkan Empire of South America, there were no suitable mates outside the family, no mere mortal qualified, so the Inka (read: King) took for his wife, one of his own sisters.

    It may be possible these Boggs folk have a similar disdain for broadening of the gene-pool.

  114. #114 by Larry Bergan on December 10, 2012 - 7:38 pm

    “Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs”?

    Wow.

    It’s obvious that my big issue is with the voting machines, and Cokie poo-pooed their danger once. That’s why I can’t deal with her.

  115. #115 by cav on December 10, 2012 - 8:53 pm

    Bainonomics:

    Hostess Brands acknowledged for the first time in a news report
    Monday that the company diverted workers’ pension money for other company uses.

    The bankrupt baker told The Wall Street Journal that money taken out of workers’ paychecks, intended for their retirement funds, was used for company operations instead. Hostess, which was under different management at the time the diversions began in
    August 2011, said it does not know how much money it took.

  116. #116 by Larry Bergan on December 10, 2012 - 9:47 pm

    I would surmise that someone taking over the job of creating jobs could at least keep the books at Hostess.

    Silly me.

  117. #117 by brewski on December 11, 2012 - 1:04 am

    I believe misappropriating funds from employee paychecks may be criminal.

  118. #118 by cav on December 11, 2012 - 7:58 am

    It is that.

    There will be a small fine, of course, if only because the Justice Department is back-logged for the time being.

    Ah, but it’s Christmas. And, what’s that…It’s a Cliff…a physical Cliff!!!!!!!!!OMG!!

  119. #119 by cav on December 11, 2012 - 10:05 am

    Oh. And. Deferred Prosecution Agreements.

(will not be published)


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