Archive for category Mike Lee
Via Think Progress:
Cloaking his predilection for the rich as concern for the less fortunate, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) argued Wednesday that raising taxes on the wealthy would primarily hurt the poor.
…“The reason we worry about raising taxes on anyone – even raising taxes on the rich,” Lee argued, is “that will hit the poorest among us the hardest.” Lest listeners get the wrong idea, the Utah Senator insisted, “it’s not that we’re looking out for the rich.”
No, of course not. The fact that trickle-down economic theory has never worked doesn’t mean that Republicans can’t keep pretending that it does!
The Congressional Research Service has documented what we know already: giving tax breaks to the rich helps concentrate wealth at the top, but it does not boost the economy.
Utah Senator Mike Lee served up the Tea Party rhetoric (unsweetened). The National Debt is a “pit of despair,” he said, neglecting to mention that President George W. Bush doubled it in 8 years. Senator Lee held out the prospect of a Balanced Budget Amendment: “Get Washington to put down the federal shovel… The shining city on a hill should replace the city in a hole. Walk away from hole-digging hell.” Never mind the fact that economic recovery (which is necessary every time GOP ideology causes an epic recession or depression) requires deficit spending.
More: Herman Cain: Stupid people and ignorant people are ruining America’ (says the guy who proudly proclaimed he didn’t know the “President Of Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan” and couldn’t explain why our attack on Libya was a mistake because “I gotta go back to — got all this stuff twirling around in my head.”)
In today’s session, Newt Gingrich is slated to give more details about his plan to make the Moon our 51st state.
Via Think Progress
Last week, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) announced he would take revenge for President Obama’s decision to make four recess appointments by engaging in a scorched earth campaign of obstruction against the president’s nominees. In his weekly address this weekend, Obama made Senator Lee the poster boy for Republican sabotage. While typically blaming both parties for bad behavior, the president called for a new rule requiring a vote on nominees within 90 days.
A few short weeks ago, Senator Mike Lee of Utah proclaimed that his balanced budget amendment was the only solution for America’s fiscal problems. Ultimately, when push came to shove on the matter he was forced to back down. Unfortunately for the nation, his refusal to compromise on a real working solution cost us our perfect credit rating. Tea Party principles and not the best interests of the country were in play until the very end.
The problem for Utah, however, remains. We’ve found ourselves within a void of no-return. We’ve aligned with the forces of Mike Lee without the benefit of a true leader. Leadership can best be described as making decisions that benefit the most number of people, or making decisions that adversely affect the fewest. The credit downgrade debacle, no matter how you slice it, produced no clear leader within our Senate delegation. Taking a stand at any cost is not leadership.
What’s worse is that Mike Lee’s identity will slowly drift away from the Tea Party Collective and morph into something that defines most politicians — the desire to be re-elected. We see it happening with Senator Hatch this year while he attempts to party with the Tea Partiers. It’s not about doing what is fashionable or following the trends. It’s about doing the right thing, for the right reasons, every time.
I need to laugh about this so I can keep going. Jon Stewart chides the Tea-GOP for being sore winners:
You control less than half of one chamber of Congress, and yet have somehow convinced everybody they’ve got to slash trillions in spending because of the “deficit crisis,” when Republicans supported the largest contributing piece of it — the Bush tax cuts! TAKE THE WIN. What are you still angry about? Yes, government still exists. We still have traffic lights. We’re sorry. Not everybody defines freedom as the ability to not pay taxes. Government isn’t perfect, but some people wish it was better, not GONE. This whole process has been like, you’re in a bank, it’s a negotiation where you’ve got some hostages, and after getting everything you wanted, you’re still going, ‘Oh, and one last demand: I still get to kill the hostages, right?’ This is the part where they all come after you and they go, ‘You won the debate, what are you going to do now?’ And you go, ‘We’re going to Disney… Colonial Williamsburg.’
I can’t get over the horror of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) showing up at last on the House floor… and voting to screw the American middle class. We’ve done nothing to her. We were on her side!
UPDATE: Matt Taibbi: Debt Ceiling Deal: The Democrats Take a Dive
Now, Barack Obama has surrendered control of the budget to the Tea Party, whose operatives in congress used the same suicide-bomber tactic, threatening a catastrophic default unless the Democrats committed to a regime of steep spending cuts without any tax increases on the wealthy…
The Democrats aren’t failing to stand up to Republicans and failing to enact sensible reforms that benefit the middle class because they genuinely believe there’s political hay to be made moving to the right. They’re doing it because they do not represent any actual voters. I know I’ve said this before, but they are not a progressive political party, not even secretly, deep inside. They just play one on television.
For evidence, all you have to do is look at this latest fiasco.
UPDATE: The Age of Austerity is Here. Final Senate vote: Aye 74, Nay 26.
UPDATE: The White House says that President Obama has signed the bill into law.
There was so much crazy stuff going on atop Capitol Hill today, it was hard to choose. My pick is Senator John McCain (R-AZ) comparing the Tea-GOP to adventurous Hobbits who ought to have stayed home in The Shire (Senator Mike Lee isn’t that short is he?).
Of course, the geographically-challenged McCain (in the past, he has mixed up Somalia and Sudan, talked about the “Iraq/Pakistan border,” and referred to Czechoslovakia, which hasn’t been on the map since 1993) said that Hobbits hoped to defeat Mordor and “return to Middle Earth.” The entire Lord of the Rings story takes place in Middle Earth. Hobbits live in The Shire.
On “The Ed Show” tonight, Liz Winstead pointed out that the Tea-GOP are more like Orcs than Hobbits.
So which Lord of the Rings character is John McCain? I vote for Saruman, the white wizard who flip-flopped from good to evil.
UPDATE: Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, responds to McCain: “Clearly he’s been corrupted by the ring of power.”
UPDATE: Another contender for craziest politician quote from Wednesday is Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA): GOP lawmaker advises poor to ‘drop out of the country club’. Rep. Broun has sponsored a bill to lower the limit on our National Debt.
Senator Mike Lee: I Want America’s ‘House To Come Down’ Unless Congress Votes To Rewrite Constitution
From Think Progress: Utah’s junior senator dabbles in extortion. In an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball last evening, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) admitted that he is using the threat of a catastrophic default to try and force the Senate into rewriting the Constitution in favor of a permanent era of conservative governance.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How many days do you think we have, on the outside, to get this debt ceiling through before we have a problem? How many days?
LEE: I don’t know, maybe ten days.
MATTHEWS: Okay, in ten days you want to change the United States Constitution by two-thirds vote in both houses? That’s what you’re demanding.
LEE: Yes. If possible we can’t change the Constitution just in Congress but we can submit it to the states. Let the states fight it out.
MATTHEWS: And you think you’re being reasonable by saying you want a two-thirds vote in the House, which is Republican, and in the Senate which is Democrat. You want the Democratic Senate, by a two-thirds vote, to pass a constitutional amendment or you want the house to come down?
LEE: Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying and I’ve been saying this for six months.
Senator Lee’s proposed amendment makes it functionally impossible to raise taxes by imposing a two-thirds supermajority requirement. It would also require America to return to 1966 spending levels — spending cuts that are so steep they would have made every single one of Ronald Reagan’s budgets unconstitutional. Because Lee wants to write these draconian cuts into the Constitution, We the People would lose our power to overrule these cuts by electing different leaders.
Extortion is too kind a word to describe Lee’s threat. And why is it that people who are pleased to describe themselves as “conservatives” always want to radically change our Constitution?
UPDATE: The fun is just beginning. Hoyer: After Default Crisis, Look Forward To Another Government Shutdown Fight. A TPM commenter says:
It’s important to remember what these “crises” really are… the only “crisis” is that there are Republicans in Congress. We are not having a problem funding our government. We are not having a problem paying our bills. We are having a problem because Republicans are erecting barriers to us doing these things.
UPDATE: The Debt Ceiling Debacle
“It is clear we must enter an era of austerity; to reduce the deficit through shared sacrifice,” reads the statement issued by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as she endorsed Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid’s plan to cut $2.7 trillion in spending over 10 years with no call for the wealthy to pay anything in taxes.
It has come to this. The proud liberal leader of House Democrats, excluded from many of the debt ceiling negotiations because she insisted on defending Social Security and Medicare, has now capitulated to the austerity caucus. And the Republicans still refuse to take yes for an answer.
Given that many Republicans, including Utah’s own Senator Mike Lee, practically ran on a platform of shutting down the federal government, the present situation is hardly unexpected. Nobody on Capitol Hill can agree on the FY 2011 budget, even though the fiscal year is half over.
David Dayen sums it up on FDL:
According to the latest information, the two sides are far apart… Lawmakers have a little over two weeks to resolve all of this, and it doesn’t seem possible to anyone, especially when the GOP House leadership reacts to any hint of compromise with a blistering statement disavowing it. And with members of both parties adamant against any more short-term stopgaps, there doesn’t seem to be any choice other than a shutdown.
Remember, this is just the FY2011 budget. The deadline for next year’s budget isn’t all that far away. And we’re about a month away from reaching the debt limit, another hostage-taking event.
A government shutdown? Really? In the midst of an economic slump and three major military operations overseas?
UPDATE: Caution, wrecking crew at work. Republicans Prepare To Reject Final White House Budget Offer
Previous One Utah posts:
Read Speaker Boehner’s Lips: Government Shutdown on March 5 (February 20, 2011)
Republicans Threaten Government Shutdown and Economic Catastrophe (November 1, 2010)
Josh Dorner on Think Progress:
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele …told host Candy Crowley the GOP is “not going to compromise on raising the debt ceiling” — something that will almost certainly lead to a government shutdown and economic catastrophe.
Mike Lee, candidate for U.S. Senate from Utah, in an interview with National Public Radio:
LEE: Our current debt is a little shy of $14 trillion. And I don‘t want it to increase 1 cent above the current debt limit. And I will vote against that.
NPR: Even if it leads to a government default or a shutdown?
LEE: It‘s an inconvenience. It would be frustrating to many, many people. And it‘s not a great thing. And yet, at the same time, it‘s not something that we can rule out. It may be absolutely necessary.
The U.S. debt ceiling was first enacted in 1917. It has been increased by Congress about a hundred times, usually without any controversy at all. The limit was increased to $14.3 trillion on February 12, 2010. In February 2011, another vote to raise the ceiling is expected.
According to the Center for American Progress, failure to raise the debt ceiling would result in “the immediate cessation of more than 40 percent of all federal government activities (excluding only interest payments on the national debt), including Social Security, military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, homeland security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance.”
Suddenly pulling trillions of dollars in public spending out of the economy, as well as inducing a worldwide financial panic and a run on U.S. sovereign debt would “almost certainly result in a severe drop in economic growth and employment” and could potentially “take us into a Second Great Depression.”
Elections have consequences. If the Republicans take over the House and possibly the Senate, they are threatening to shut down the government like Newt Gingrich did twice in 1995. Meanwhile, they refuse to consider letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire on schedule, as planned. Those tax cuts are the principal long-term cause of federal deficits [Thanks to Steve in comments for pointing out the error in the original version].