Today’s Sunday Session features one of my all time favorite performers, Jackson Browne, performing with the group that released my favorite record this year, Dawes, during the Occupy Wall Street protests. Enjoy….
What is the sequester battle? In a nutshell, it’s an attempt to refight the 2012 election, only this time on terms way less favorable to Republicans.
Republicans want to move early to a balanced budget. They want to reach balance through spending cuts only, no tax increases. And they want the spending cuts to fall more heavily on social programs than defense, while exempting Medicare and Social Security for current beneficiaries.
The president wants to move later to a balanced budget. He wants to rely more on tax increases, and he wants the spending cuts to apply to Medicare as well as discretionary spending.
We presented those two options to the American people in November, and the president’s option prevailed. Now Republicans want to present the same choice again.
But this time, they will be presenting the choice under extra disadvantages.
1) President Obama is more popular now than he was in November.
2) Republicans no longer have the coordinated voice and decision-making of a presidential campaign.
3) Because the sequester mechanism grants substantial discretion to the executive to determine where the cuts fall, the president gains powerful new leverage to frame the budget choice in ways maximally embarrassing to Republicans.
4) Because sequester cuts will fall on defense, Republicans will lose the support of important elements of their coalition as the contest continues.
Republicans should not try to reshape the government of the United States from the House of Representatives. That always fails. Instead, they should be focusing on these two missions:
A) Work to temper and mitigate the worst of the president’s agenda – and especially the tax increases and regulations coming in Obamacare, and
B) Begin now to frame the 2014 and 2016 choice in ways advantageous to Republicans.
What they are doing now makes neither tactical nor strategic sense. The likeliest outcome of the sequester fight for Republicans is yet another after yet another political defeat.
(Thanks to the Daily Beast for this article)
Before we end today, let’s talk about why the Republican’s are refusing to negotiate…….they are against President Obama’s proposed closing of tax loopholes for the wealthy, such as the one that keeps tax rates on capital gains and dividends low (i.e. they are protecting the likes of Mitt Romney and the rest of the 1%). Here is the punch line….dividends and capital gains are the biggest contributor to income equality is in the United States (see the graph below). In short, the Republican strategy is to continue to ensure that the 1% get richer and richer while the middle class and the poor bear the complete burden of reducing the deficit. There is nothing new to this but I think it is important to continually remind folks what the Republicans are all about.
Sequester: Final Death Throes for Republiconomics — and Republican Party
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declared that he has been in the House for 22 years and that we have never cut spending. This from the man who tried to spend$3 billion on an alternative jet engine the military did not want, and never specifies any of the cuts he says are required.
Now, it appears, Republicans will get their sequester. They will also, in the process, shatter any doubt that government spending indeed creates jobs, the only remaining myth that has not been thoroughly debunked by events, at least since 1937-8.
Republicans have perpetrated four major myths about economic policy, aka “RepubliCONomics.” These myths have served their paymasters’ interests, but have brought down a once prosperous country with a large, strong middle class to a nation beset with a shrinking and struggling middle-class and increased concentration of wealth and power at the top.
The first was that cutting taxes on the wealthy fostered economic growth and job creation. That was launched by President Reagan, but all he proved was that cutting taxes + tripling the deficit, about as Keynesian as one can be, may stimulate the economy. Indeed, it is arguable that the impact of low taxes on the wealthy alone is quite the opposite — their idle wealth squirreled away (these days) in off-shore tax havens, extracted from the economy and not doing anything, was one of the causes Galbraith proposed for the Depression (The Great Crash, 1929).
At the very least, the Congressional Research Service report studying 50 years of tax policy finds cutting taxes for the wealthy had negligible impact on job creation, but it ballooned our deficits and increased income inequality. Strike one.
RepubliCONomics’ second myth was that “tax cuts pay for themselves.” This was a necessary corollary of their first myth, because they did not want to be seen as deliberately causing deficits, nor to have to make choices between deficits and feathering their paymasters’ nests. All they caused were deficits and growing income inequality, hollowing out the middle class. The culture of “getting something for nothing” is a RepubliCON invention.
Perpetrating this lie was particularly cruel since it was applied anew just as the boomers were due to retire, with their known impact on government spending needs. The Clinton Administration handed them a projected $5 Trillion surplus that would have shored up our finances and not put this vulnerable part of the population at risk. RepubliCONomic nonsense transformed that surplus into a $4 trillion deficit, an incredible $9 trillion turnaround. Strike two.
Their third canard was that removing regulations would spark a flurry of economic activity, job creation and growth. They were correct on the “flurry” side, there certainly was a lot of “activity,” but it was not sustainable, and resulted in the worst financial and economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Strike three.
Baseball, and in some states our criminal justice system, says three strikes and you are out. But, they do not have lobbyists nor the gerrymander.
Republicans do. Regrettably, they get an “extra swing” before counted out. “Regrettably,” because many more people will have to suffer unnecessarily.
The sequester will demolish their fourth lie, that government spending not only does not create jobs, but is actually inimical to it. The Congressional Budget Office is predicting a loss of 750,000-1,000,000 jobsfrom their folly. Even Republicans are lamenting the projected loss of jobs in the defense industry because of it. Imagine, government spending creating jobs! What a thought!
As job losses rise and economic growth slows, and as key programs — e.g., the National Institutes of Health will lose $2.5 billion, rental assistance for the poor $2.3 billion, nutrition for women and children $0.5 billion, and so forth — that Republicans assume no one cares about get the axe, and real pain in individuals’ lives is felt, not only will the final nail-in-the-coffin of RepubliCONomics have been hammered, but the Republican Party will have sealed its fate.
What, after all, remains for them to yammer about?
(Thanks to Huffington Post for this article)
So……I still think sequestration, and its various projected impacts, are should be avoided but this article makes a good point. Maybe this is the best way to drive a stake through the heart of the Republican party and their ridiculous economic policies. Maybe good can come from bad…..
ABC confronts Paul Ryan for praising sequester before using it to slam Obama
“Don’t forget it was the president who proposed the sequester, it’s the president who designed the sequester,” Ryan told Karl, adding that he had concluded that Congress was not going to be able to avoid the automatic cuts because Democrats refused to accept Republicans’ proposal for “smarter cuts in other area of government.”
“Congressman, I’ve heard you say this, and this has been a talking point for Republicans for a long time,” Karl interrupted. “But let’s look at your own words, what you said right after the law putting this in place was passed in August of 2011. These are your words. You said, ‘What conservatives like me have been fighting for for years are statutory caps on spending, literally legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money and if they breach that amount across the board sequester comes in to cut that spending. You can’t turn it out without a supermajority. We got that into law.’”
“Now, it sounds to me there like if you weren’t taking credit for the idea of the sequester, you were certainly suggesting it was a good idea,” Karl pointed out.
“So those are the budget caps on discretionary spending. Those occurred. We want those,” Ryan insisted. “The sequester that we’re talking about now is backing up the super committee. Remember the Super Committee — in addition to those caps — was supposed to come up with 1.2 trillion in savings. The Republicans on the Super Committee offered even higher revenues in exchange for spending cuts as part of that. It was rejected by the president and the Democrats. So no resolution occurred and therefore the sequester is occurring.”
“The Senate Democrats on Friday did come out with a plan to replace these cuts,” Karl noted. “It’s half spending cuts and half tax revenue increases.”
“The president got his tax increases last year,” the former vice presidential nominee asserted. “What is the goal that we are trying to achieve here? We want economic growth, we want job creation, we want people to go back to work, we want to prevent a debt crisis from hurting those that are most vulnerable in society from giving us a European-like economy. In order to do that, you’ve got to get the debt and deficit under control, you’ve got to grow the economy. So if you take tax loopholes [away] to fuel more spending — which is what they are proposing here — then you are preventing tax reform, which we think is necessary to end crony capitalism.”
“And you’re saying, no tax increases — period — to pay for this?” Karl wondered.
“That’s right,” Ryan agreed.
(Thanks to ABC News for this article)
To add a little coal to this fire, it is worth pointing out that Republicans like to also blame President Obama for the current US Deficit. Take a look at the following graphic showing some of Mr. Ryan’s votes and then tell me who is to blame……
Just tonight I posted a Romney video from the Republican Primary where he clearly states that he would do away with FEMA (checkout the post named “Republican Commandment #3 – The Less Federal Government The Better”).
Well now that disaster approaches and everyone is looking to FEMA for help, the Romney campaign is saying that Mitt is all in for FEMA. A clear case of Romnesia if I have every seen one. Here is the article from tonight’s Huffington Post.
Would Romney abolish FEMA? His campaign says no
At a GOP primary debate in June 2011, Romney, when asked about FEMA’s budget woes and how he would deal with it, had said, “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
During that debate, the moderator, CNN’s John King, had gone on to ask if that included “disaster relief.” Romney suggested it did.
The Center for American Progress, a liberal group, called attention to Romney’s remarks in an email to reporters on Sunday.
Asked for clarification today, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said the GOP nominee wasn’t implying he would get rid of FEMA, but rather that he simply wants states to play a greater role in disaster response.
“Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” Henneberg said. “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”
Romney has proposed a budget that includes across-the-board cuts on federal programs, with the exception of defense and entitlement programs, as a way of curbing the growing federal deficit. But he has not said specifically where those cuts would be. Asked if FEMA’s budget could be on the list for potential cuts, Henneberg did not comment.
Romney has publicly supported a House GOP budget bill drafted by his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, that called for greater efficiency in federal disaster relief spending.
The debate over FEMA funding could be revived in coming days amid predictions that Hurricane Sandy could cause massive power outage and damage in its path.
Just for old-time sake let’s listen to the Romnesia song one more time…….
I have always loved the Pousette Dart Band. As soon as I heard President Obama discussing Romnesia last Friday I knew I would have to create a modified version of Amnesia by them to use as the theme song for Romnesia. See what you think….I have included the original after my modified version.
Pousette-Dart Band – Amnesia
I’m working on a slide show to go with the song but thought you might like a sneak peak of just the song.
Here is a great article from nbcnews.com. At a campaign appearance in Florida today Vice President Biden announced that Romnesia has been determined to be catching. The latest victim is Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. All of the details are provided below. Educate yourself so you can protect your family….this is a “must read” article!
FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Joining a chorus of Democratic mockery with puns aimed at GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Vice President Joe Biden warned a Floridian crowd late Friday that “Romnesia” is a communicable disease that also appears to have been contracted by the Republican’s running mate.
“The president has a new term for this sort of ability to change your mind so quickly: He calls it ‘Romnesia,'” Biden said, echoing the president’s new line from a Virginia appearance earlier today. “Boy, I tell you what, I hope y’all don’t get Romnesia. It’s a bad disease. It’s a bad disease and it is contagious.”
The crowd guffawed as Biden mock-explained how the illness has spread to Rep. Paul Ryan as well.
“All of sudden Paul Ryan the budget hawk- the guy that introduced a whole budget that already passed … the House of Representatives,” Biden explained. “All of sudden he doesn’t remember it. He doesn’t remember it. He doesn’t remember what it does to the vital programs that mean so much to working people.”
The punnery has been met with eye rolls from many Republicans even as Democrats insist the branding of Romney as an indecisive Don Draper will remind independent voters of their distrust for the former Massachusetts governor.
“The latest rhetoric from President Obama and Vice President Biden tells voters everything they need to know about their campaign,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. “While the president and vice president desperately resort to the kind of campaign they once denounced, Mitt Romney is focused on getting Americans back to work and delivering a real economic recovery.”
While in Florida, Biden also introduced a new prop for his recently unveiled riff on Romney’s position on women’s rights.
“On Tuesday when Governor Romney was asked a direct question at the last debate whether or not women deserved equal pay for equal work, what was his answer?” he said, brandishing an actual folio. “Binders! he started talking about binders!”
Speaking of Binders Full Of Women, I saw this online today and laughed my ass off. Sorry Bill….even you have to admit this is funny!