Support for Tax Increase on Highest Earners

A new Pew Poll shows that 44% believe that raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000 would help the economy, compared to 22% who believe it would hurt, with  24% saying it wouldn’t make a difference, and 11% saying they don’t know.

As you’d expect, Democrats more strongly favored the tax increase, with 64% saying it would help, only 11% saying it would hurt, 15% saying it wouldn’t make a difference, and 9% saying they don’t know.

Only 27% of Republicans say the tax increase would help, 41% say it would hurt, 24% say it wouldn’t make a difference, and 9% say they don’t know.

Independents fall in between, with 41% saying it would help, 18% saying it would hurt, 30% saying it wouldn’t make a difference, and 10% saying they don’t know.


Quote of the Day

“The Republicans and Democrats the modern system produces literally come from different worlds and see no middle ground on the biggest issues of the day. They see elections — not the legislative process — as the place to settle their differences. ”  Charles Mahtesian and Jim VanderHei, “Congress:  It’s going to get worse,” Politico

Cooler Heads Starting to Prevail on Hilary Rosen

From Linda Hirshman, “Hilary Rosen was right,” WaPo:

“Beltway pundit Hilary Rosen committed a mortal sin of American politics.  She spoke the truth with a microphone on.

“In the furor, everyone seemed to forget that unpaid mothers and household work are not what the discussion is about.  Republicans are not talking about how jobs for stay-at-home moms have decreased under Obama.

“They are talking about how paid work for women has suffered.

“Although Ann Romney may be a fine spokesperson on some issues, the dirty little secret of angling for female votes is that while all women’s work, inside or outside the home, has the same worth, as Michelle Obama and Barbara Bush sweetly expressed, all women do not have the same interests.  Women who work in the home do not have the same interest in the recovery of the formal job market as women who have to work for pay.  Indeed, wage-earning women probably have more in common with their paycheck-dependent male co-workers on the subject of economic recovery than with household laborers such as Ann Romney.”

Ann Romney may have skipped a meal so she could fit into an evening dress, but she’s never skipped a meal so her children could eat instead.  Mitt’s relying on Ann about women’s economic issues just keeps him inside the closed loop of their charmed life together.  He doesn’t have a clue, and neither does she.

They both are picture perfect for the bubble of La Jolla.  The White House, not so much.

Can We Stop with the Greece Comparisons?

Ohio’s wildly unpopular governor, John Kasich, kept on pushing the Big Lie on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” that the U. S. is heading toward a crisis like Greece’s, riots and all.  This is just garbage, but it unnecessarily frightens people, especially seniors who worry about their Social Security and Medicare:

“We don’t want to be Greece.  We don’t want to be places where people are rioting because we waited so long to get things fixed, we’re pulling the rug from under them.”

This is beyond irresponsible, it’s inflammatory and cruel.

Out-for-Himself Eric Cantor Really Steps in It

Eric “Lean and Hungry” Cantor, the House Majority Leader, is right where I like to see him — “in damage control mode,” according to Politico.*

Cantor’s EricPAC gave $25,000 to a super PAC, the Campaign for Primary Accountability (CPA), that is devoted to kicking out incumbents, including many of the Republican congressmen whom Cantor is supposed to serve as Majority Leader.  This is a huge stab in the back to those who have put him in a leadership position.

One of the major funders of CPA, Leo Linbeck, told CNN that Cantor’s behavior was “forward-thinking.”  I guess forward-thinking is a new synonym for suicidal.

“House GOP Leadership aides…said they were perplexed by Cantor’s decision to donate to a group that was openly trying to take down sitting incumbents of his party.

“‘It’s just a mess,’ said one leadership aide.

“‘People are a little bit stunned,’ said a senior House GOP aide.”

I imagine John Boehner is delighted.  I think he hates Cantor, who is always breathing down his neck trying to replace him as Speaker, more than he hates President Obama.  Obama isn’t vying to become Speaker.  If Boehner smooths things over for Cantor, then Cantor will owe him big-time, and Boehner will have him right where he wants him, in his back pocket.

* “Cantor donation roils House GOP,” Alex Isenstadt and John Bresnahan

The Public and Private Faces of the Ryan Budget

From “Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan:  At Least It’s a Start,”  James R. Stewart, NYT:

“The Ryan plan is clearly an opening move. … It’s easy to tweak the Ryan tax rates to generate more tax revenue while still lowering rates and broadening the tax base….

“In return, Republicans would get lower rates and curbs on entitlement spending.  Democrats would get more tax revenue and preserve the essential elements and long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security.  The nation would get a fairer tax code, long-term deficit reduction, a secure credit rating, stronger economic growth and a social safety net.

“‘The overwhelming majority of Congress would agree to this on a secret ballot,’ [Jim] Cooper [D-TN] told me.  ‘But they wont do it publicly.  Each side considers it unilateral disarmament.  The Democrats want to bash the Republicans on Medicare and the Republicans want to bash the Democrats on taxes.'”  Emphasis added.

The Poisonous Atmosphere Is Poisoning Our Future

The GOP keeps saying, wrongly, that this country is going the way of Greece.  Unfortunately, there are no good solutions for Greece, just pain and decline and a vicious circle of economic contraction as far as the eye can see.  By contrast, we have solutions easily available, we just aren’t putting them in place.

From the question-and-answer part of President Obama’s speech to the Associated Press yesterday:

“These are solvable problems if people of good faith came together and were willing to compromise.  The challenge we have right now is that we have on one side, a party that will brook no compromise.  And this is not just my assertion.  We had presidential candidates who stood on a stage and were asked, ‘Would you accept a budget package, a deficit reduction plan, that involved $10 of cuts for every dollar in revenue increases?’  Ten-to-one ratio of spending cuts to revenue.  Not one of them raised their hand.

“I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented — which reinforces I think people’s cynicism about Washington generally.  This is not one of those situations where there’s an equivalence.  I’ve got some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress who were prepared to make significant changes to entitlements that go against their political interests, and who said they were willing to do it.  And we couldn’t get a Republican to stand up and say, we’ll raise some revenue, or even to suggest that we won’t give more tax cuts to people who don’t need them.”

The GOP, especially its Tea Party wing, will hold its breath until it turns blue.  Unfortunately, all of us are getting asphyxiated.

The Ryan Budget as Political Theater

From “Call That a Budget?,” James Surowiecki, The New Yorker:

“The C.B.O. analysis of Ryan’s plan, for instance, finds that, by 2050, all the government’s discretionary spending, including defense, would represent just 3.75 per cent of G.D.P.  Given that defense spending in the postwar era has never been less than three per cent of G.D.P., and that Republicans won’t consider cutting it, the rest of the government’s discretionary sending would have to be squeezed out of that remaining 0.75 per cent.  This is a derisory number — in the entire postwar era, it has never been less than eight per cent.

“It’s true, of course, that this budget will never become reality….  The budget is, as many have said, an act of political theater. … In that sense, the Ryan plan is not about fiscal responsibility.  It’s about pushing a very particular, and very ideological, view of the proper relationship between government and society.  The U. S. does need to get its finances in order.  It just doesn’t need to repeal the twentieth century to do so.”  Italics in original; emphasis added.

Must Read from Frank Rich on the GOP and Women

Frank Rich has an excellent article, “Stag Party,” in New York Magazine, available at  He writes about not only the GOP’s current war on women, but also the history going back to the Nixon Administration, after years of Republicans supporting women’s rights.   Some excerpts:

“At the very top of the Washington GOP Establishment, however, there was a dawning recognition that a grave danger had arisen — not to women, but to their own brand.  A month of noisy Republican intrusion into women’s health and sex organs, amplified by the megaphone of Limbaugh’s aria, was a potentially apocalyptic combination for an election year.  No one expressed this fear more nakedly than Peggy Noonan …on ABC’s This Week.  After duly calling out Rush for being ‘crude, rude, even piggish,’ she added:  ‘But what he said was also destructive.  It confused the issue.  It played into this trope that the Republicans have a war on women.  No, they don’t, but he made it look that way.’

“Note that she found Limbaugh ‘destructive’ not because he was harming women but because he was harming her party.  But the problem wasn’t that Limbaugh confused the issue.  His real transgression was that he had given away the GOP game….  That’s why his behavior resonated with and angered so many Americans who otherwise might have tuned out his rant as just another sloppy helping of his aging shtick.  It’s precisely because there is a Republican war on women that he hit a nerve.  And surely no one knows that better than Noonan, a foot soldier in some of the war’s early battles well before Rush became a phenomenon.

“GOP apologists like Noonan are hoping now that Limbaugh and Limbaugh alone will remain the issue — a useful big fat idiot whom Republicans can scapegoat for all the right’s misogynistic sins and use as a club to smack down piggish liberal media stars.  The hope is that he will change the subject of the conversation altogether, from a Republican war on  women to, as Noonan now frames it, the bipartisan ‘coarsening of discourse in public life.’  That’s a side issue, if not a red herring.  Coarse and destructive as sexist invective is — whether deployed by Limbaugh or liberals — it is nonetheless policies and laws that inflict the most insidious and serious casualties in the war on women.  It’s Republicans in power, not radio talk-show hosts or comedians or cable-news anchors, who try and too often succeed at enacting punitive measured aimed at more than half the population.  The war on women is rightly named because those who are waging it do real harm to real women with their actions, not words.”


A Little Weekend Humor from Gail Collins

From Gail Collins’ “Who Doesn’t Love A List?” in the NYT:

“The primaries have been great for the economy.  Dimwitted billionaires are dumping money they don’t need into the campaigns of people who can’t win, providing much-needed jobs for ad-writers, poll-takers and yard-sign manufacturers.

“Do you remember, at the depth of the recession, when Keynesians kept saying that we could jump-start the recovery by just paying a whole bunch of people to dig holes and fill them back in?  This is exactly the same thing!  Keep going, Republicans!”

Except that digging holes and filling them in is harmless and doesn’t cause trouble as the GOP candidates are doing.  Check out Santorum’s “Welcome to Obamaville” on YouTube.  Whoever made this sick piece of garbage should be sentenced to digging holes and filling them in for all eternity.  It predicts nothing less than the apocalypse if Obama is reelected and flashes alternating shots of him and Ahmadinejad on the screen, cause, you know, they’re so alike, a couple of Muslim guys who hate America.