Quote of the Day

“I don’t want this budget to be done on the backs of the people who are most vulnerable.”

Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia)

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Quote of the Day

“There is a tendency in this town toward brinksmanship, towards pointing to events that can cause instability and uncertainty and using them to try to get your way.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R- Canada Texas)

Does this guy listen to himself?

Quote of the Day

“A critical chunk of House Republicans insist that they will only vote for a bill to keep government going if said legislation also defunds Obamacare.  You may have noticed that House Republicans have a stupendously high opinion of health care reform.  Most Democrats think it will be a very good thing over the long run, but probably a pain to implement, with lots of complaining from all sides.  Republicans, on the other hand, think that the instant it goes into effect, voters will be so ecstatic they will toss out any public official who threatens to take it away from them.  Yet, simultaneously, the world as we know it it will come to an end.  Go figure.”

Gail Collins, “Back To Boehner,” NYT

We Could Have Been Done Here

Instead of just beginning an unnecessary fight at home, the President could have finished up his piddling, slap-on-the-wrist strikes on Syria today and headed off to Sweden and Petersburg tomorrow.

The country could have started to focus on the fast-approaching budget and debt ceiling deadlines.

If the President believed he had the authority to strike Syria (and he clearly does), he should have used it.  Especially because this Congress is the worst in my memory in terms of being jam packed with the crazy and the ignorant.  I mean, you have Tea Party congressmen arguing that a default would improve the credit rating of the United State.

You don’t rush to this Congress expecting a rational response, you do end runs around it.  The Tea Party these reps evoke isn’t Boston Harbor, it’s Alice in Wonderland.

I don’t feel sorry for Obama — he knows where the rabbit hole is, but instead of taking care not to fall down it, he’s jumped right into it.  And taken all of us with him.

 

Policy of the One Percent, by the One Percent, for the One Percent

From “The 1 Percent’s Solution,” Paul Krugman, NYT:

“Thus, the average American is somewhat worried about budget  deficits, which is no surprise given the constant barrage of deficit scare stories in the news media, but the wealthy, by a large majority, regard deficits as the most important problem we face.  And how should the budget deficit be brought down?  The wealthy favor cutting federal spending on health care and Social Security — that is “entitlements” — while the public at large actually wants to see spending on those programs rise.

“You get the idea:  The austerity agenda looks a lot like a simple expression of upper-class preferences, wrapped in a facade of academic rigor.  What the top 1 percent wants becomes what economic science says we must do.

“[T]he years since we turned to austerity have been dismal for workers but not at all bad for the wealthy, who have benefited from surging profits and stock prices even as long-term unemployment festers.

“And this makes one wonder how much difference the intellectual collapse of the austerian position will actually make.  To the extent that we have policy of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent, won’t we just see new justifications for the same old policies?”

 

Covered with Obama Cooties

We all knew this was coming, but it still invites screaming and broken crockery.

The GOP has been demanding that we cut entitlements, the President proposes chained CPI in his budget, and the head of the NRCC, Greg Walden of Oregon, calls the proposal a “shocking attack on seniors.”

Walden is focused on seat numbers in 2014, not budget numbers.  I suggest our Prez do the same.

Prez “Chaining” Himself for Nothing?

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo on the President’s coming out for chained CPI to calculate Social Security benefits:

“[O]n the politics, President Obama and his advisors have made clear this isn’t what President Obama is actually for. He doesn’t think it’s a good idea. It’s rather what he’s willing to do if Republicans are willing to make a big move on revenues. So he’s anticipating claims that he’s not serious about long term cuts and making clear that he’s willing to put real cuts, painful cuts that most of his supporters will hate, on the table. There’s an internal logic there. But the problem is that there doesn’t seem to be much of any evidence that Republicans are going to make that any kind of move like that. So really this is just the President negotiating with himself, validating the wisdom of big Social Security cuts while Republicans are still saying — and show no signs of not saying — that no more taxes should ever go up ever.

“Now, the counter to this is that the optics of going the extra length helps the President with swing voters who want to see he’s trying to compromise. I’m uncertain about that. But that’s certainly part of the calculus.

“But there’s the third point that I think is most important to understanding what’s going on here. This isn’t only about President Obama’s negotiating acumen. In conversations with the president’s key advisors and the President himself over the last three years one point that has always come out to me very clearly is that the President really believes in the importance of the Grand Bargain. He thinks it’s an important goal purely on its own terms. That’s something I don’t think a lot of his diehard supporters fully grasp. He thinks it’s important in long-range fiscal terms (and there’s some reality to that). But he always believes it’s important for the country and even for the Democratic party to have a big global agreement that settles the big fiscal policy for a generation and let’s the country get on to other issues — social and cultural issues, the environment, building the economy etc.

This has always struck me as a very questionable analysis of the where the country is politically and what it needs. But I put it forward because I don’t think these moves can really be understood outside of this context.”  Emphasis added.

My personal feeling is that the President can’t do a Grand Bargain with the group that’s in Congress now, especially the House, and that we don’t need one anyway.  As the economy comes back, deficits are declining to reasonable levels in the short and medium-term.  A Grand Bargain can wait, but jobs and growth can’t.  The more growth we can fuel now, the less painful that Grand Bargain will ultimately have to be.  Now is the time to pave the way for a future Grand Bargain rather than for doing that Bargain itself.

Progressives are freaking out today about chained CPI, but it ain’t gonna happen without revenues, which means it ain’t gonna happen.  So the President is making an offer that the GOP can — and will — refuse.