Lemon Water wallpaper – Keeping Score and Ending America as We Know It

Lemon Water wallpaper

Richard (RJ) Eskow makes some good points in between in some exasperation and exaggeration, Why Progressives Keep On Losing and the Right Keeps On Winning

Congratulations! The “grand compromise” will cut nearly thirty nine billion dollars in needed government spending, which proves how “serious” everyone is about reducing the deficit. The grand compromisers could have cancelled the next ten years of tax subsidies for oil companies and cut the deficit by forty billion, but apparently that’s not how serious people do things.

Eskow points up another facet to the debate leading up to the budget compromise ( keep in mind the Senate still has to vote on the budget and some of the riders being hailed as a partial victory for cheerleaders of the Scarlet Letter school of cultural values may change). Besides subsides for oil, we have subsides for coal and natural gas. We have subsidies for big agri-corporations (62% of farmers do not receive subsides). While I support aid to Israel, it was established in 1948 and to date has been the single largest beneficiary of US foreign aid. Most of Israels’ current aid in in the form of military aid – the Obama administration has approved about $9.9 billion in aid for FY 2011. American Progress reviewed a report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report on government waste. Note that no where in the report does it say attacking the reproductive health of women or making the nation’s air/water more toxic will be big money savers, Report Identifies $15 Billion to $20 Billion in Government Cost-Saving

*Realign the Defense Department’s military medical command structures: $281 million to $460 million annually
*Eliminate duplicative tax breaks for ethanol production: $5.7 billion annually
*Reduce farm payment programs: $800 million over 10 years; $5 billion annually
*Revise essential air service program: $20 million annually
*Improve management of federal oil and gas resources: $1.75 billion over 10 years
*Dispose of unneeded federal real property: $3 billion by the end of FY 2012
*Increase TSA baggage screening systems: $470 million over five years
*Clarify availability of customs fee collections: One-time savings of $640 million
*Improve Social Security data on pensions from noncovered earnings: $2.4 billion to $2.9 billion over 10 years

One area that is tricky is elimination of  “duplicate services”. What seems like duplicate services from a distance might not be on close examination. Considering the short sightedness or intractibility of the right-wing conservative mindset is not surprise that a Republican rider to eliminate funding for extra IRS agents was part of the budget compromise. One area where we all would have benefitted by making sure taxes were properly collected,

GAO also believes we can save by eliminating duplicative tax breaks and improving the IRS’s ability to collect taxes already owed to the government. Specifically, the report recommends the United States can enhance revenue collections by:

*Improving debt collection. The IRS recovered only $6 billion of $129 billion in tax debts in 2008 using written notices. Tax debts not recovered through inexpensive written notices must be collected through more expensive phone or in-person methods.
*Improving outreach to reduce revenue losses due to overstated real estate tax deduction. Nine million taxpayers overstated their federal deductions for local real estate taxes in 2001 by an average of $85. This resulted in a $2.5 billion loss.
*Improving tax compliance of self-employed owners of unincorporated businesses. The IRS estimates that $68 billion of the $345 billion gross tax gap can be attributed to underreporting by sole proprietors.
*Identifying businesses not filing tax returns. The IRS can save by using third-party data to find businesses not filing required tax returns.
*Improving tax compliance of S corporations. Sixty-eight percent of S corporations misreport net income. The IRS estimates that $85 billion in taxable income is not correctly reported as a result.
*Strengthening enforcement of tax evasion. Creating an agencywide strategy to enforce tax evasion can help close the tax gap.

Between ending unproductive and sometimes egregiously wasteful subsides, and collecting revenue even the compromise was doable without causing any major pain to the middle-class and working poor. here all I am doing is playing by the game Republicans, many Democrats and certainly the vast majority of the media have created – that we do have a monstrous out of control nation destroying debt which leaves us no choice but to make drastic budget cuts.  There is no out of control spending. The Bush and now Obama tax cuts costs $2.5 trillion over the years 2001-2010 – which includes interests on the debt – that is something Republicans, tea smokers and Obama share responsibility for the years 2010 and beyond. So there is no reason to listen to the twisted attempts by the Right to dump the entire debt into Obama’s lap. That is just the Right’s general tendency to not act like responsible grown-ups.

While the multitude of Republican governors and conservative state legislators latest rounds of attacks on the rights of women to have autonomy over their own bodies is would be a higher priority in comparison to defunding subsidies for women’s health care in the DC area, that also, is another grossly out of whack conservative priority and point of hypocrisy on the moral principles, Ignore this Mr. President. You already ignore me.

As for banning the District from using its own tax dollars to help poor people pay for a legal procedure, how is that any different than what the Supreme Court just allowed Arizona to do in allowing tax credits for religious schools?  So in other words, tax expenditures are okay if they fund things the right-wing wants, but somehow all money is tainted if in any way it goes to something rightwingers do not want –  even if a majority of the residents of the jurisdiction support that tax expenditure.

If the Right knows how to manage money, if the Right has its Constitutional ducks in a row, if the Right believes in pure unadulterated meritocracy – then why are the rest of us subsidizing thier private indoctrination centers.

That said, the blogger at that link has most of what happened during the health care debate wrong. We could have a replay where Obama pounds the table and goes medieval on Republicans and there still were not enough votes for a public option or a Medicare buy-in for younger workers.

The more time people have to go over Paul Ryan’s Road map to gutting Medicare and fiscal disaster, the more they find the numbers do not add up, Ryan Budget Plan Produces Far Less Real Deficit Cutting than Reported – Plan’s $4.3 Trillion in Program Cuts, Offset by $4.2 Trillion in Tax Cuts, Yield Just $155 Billion in Deficit Reduction

That means that, despite proposing $4.3 trillion in what would be the most severe and wrenching budget cuts in U.S. history — two-thirds of which would come from programs for people of low or moderate incomes — the plan barely reduces deficits at all over the next decade. That’s because his budget cuts are offset by $4.2 trillion in tax cuts that would go disproportionately to those at the top. In essence, at least for the next decade, this plan is far less a blueprint for addressing deficits and far more a proposal to redistribute large amounts of resources from those at the bottom to those at the top.

Mark Steyn, for those who have probably never heard of, is one of the Right’s biggest flame throwers and a perennial welfare queen. Where most people show humility and regret over their ignorance, Steyn shows his like a monkey at the zoo shows his ass and flings poop at by-passers. Ending America as We Know It. The Democrats’ solution to the problem is to deny there is one.

Ending Medicare as we know it? Say it ain’t so! Medicare, we hardly knew ye! It’s an open question whether Americans will fall for one more chorus of the same old song from Baucus, Harkin, Podesta, and the other members of America’s wrinkliest boy band. But, if this is the level on which the feckless patronizing spendaholics of the permanent governing class want to conduct the debate, bring it on:

Paul Ryan’s plan would “end Medicare as we know it.”

The Democrats’ “plan” — business as usual — will end America as we know it.

Literally, as Representative Wasserman-Schultz would say. One way or another, Medicare as we know it is going to end. So, if you think an unsustainable 1960s welfare program is as permanent a feature as the earth and sky, you’re in for a shock. It’s just a question of whether, after the shock, what’s left looks like Japan or looks like Haiti.

My comrade Jonah Goldberg compares America’s present situation to that of a plane with one engine out belching smoke. But, if anything, he understates the crisis. Air America doesn’t need a busted engine, because it’s pre-programmed to crash. Our biggest problem is Medicare and other “entitlements”: They’re the automatic pilot of Big Government. Whoever’s in the captain’s seat makes no difference: The flight is pre-programmed to hit the iceberg, if you’ll forgive me switching mass-transit metaphors in mid-stream.

Let’s start out on a positive note and acknowledge that he is correct – Jonah Goldberg is his “comrade” in proto-fascist doublespeak. Other than that the typical Bizarro World view embraced by those to whom the word accountability in part of some foreign language cipher which they could not understand if they moved their brain from their sphincter muscle to their fat heads. Medicare and Social Security are insurance programs. We have them because we live in a free market system. That system has some great positive qualities, but it is not perfect. From 1900 to 1927 the USA had 10 recessions. Some mild and some severe. As is usually the case the working and middle-class paid the price. This was before Social Security brought millions of elderly Americans out of poverty. Between 1927 and the present we have had 14 recessions – which includes The Great Depression and the Great Recession. Seeing that the financial powers that be, regardless of how or how much they are regulated always find a way to screw over the average American and Washington’s long history of reacting rather than being proactive in protecting us all from the excesses of the nations; centers of financial power, we as a nation – the adults anyway, decided the least we could do is provide a thin safety net. One of the reasons we have not had the extreme wide-spread hunger and homelessness of th early 20th century or massive street demonstrations is because of that safety net. Part of which is the insurance program Steyn (The National Review) describes as “welfare”. Medicare is a program that working Americans contribute to, exactly like the legendary family rainy day fund. Medicare is not the cause of the federal budget crisis. Lack of revenue (Partly because of the extended tax cuts of the Bush era. Partly because of corporations using loopholes to avoid paying any taxes) , the Great Recession caused by conservative economic policies and lack of regulatory enforcement and high unemployment ( which also means less revenue). Just as President Obama and many progressives are willing to trade a cut in corporate tax rates for closing some of the loopholes and a corporate minimum tax, I would be willing to trade-off some of Medicare if the Right will create the perfect market economy. Everyone who works forty hours a week gets a living wage, a good portable health care plan and a guaranteed retirement fund. Thus far so one seems to be able to do that. We’ve had 24 bad to severe economic down turns in the last 110 years. Every time we fix the system, radical conservatives either tear the regulations down, do not enforce it or water down new regulation with the help of people like the Koch brothers, the ironically named Freedom Works and their myriad astroturf lobbying groups. Steyn, The National Review and the right-wing bloggers who linked approvingly to Steyn’s deluge of misinformation, spin and lies wants everyone to believe that some how the free market system will do a sudden about-face and poor children, the disabled and seniors can rely on their fantasy market perfection to take care of them. Ending Medicare would be a death sentence for millions of Americans. With knowledge of the free market’s system hit and miss record who wants to gamble their and their family’s life on the Right’s fantasy version of  what is really “Ending America as We Know It”.

“Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance”  William Gaddis

Iced Tea wallpaper – Republicans Holding Budget Hostage Over Fanatical “Riders”

water swirls

Iced Tea wallpaper

 

The nonexistent budget crisis, more accurately the crisis of failure to rise revenue because no one wants the the richest people in America forced to drive a used Buick, has turned into the budget “rider” crisis. That crisis is composed of two parts. The conservative war on women’s health and reproductive rights and the war on people after they come into this world. The latter is about depriving everyone to the right of breathing reasonably clean air and should you become disabled or somehow live long enough to be a senior, depriving you of health care. I do not have a proof reader so I have an excuse. The NYT does have copy editors and fact checkers, so could have done better with this report. Though kudos for getting the larger story out, It’s Not Really About Spending

If the federal government shuts down at midnight on Friday — which seems likely unless negotiations take a sudden turn toward rationality — it will not be because of disagreements over spending. It will be because Republicans are refusing to budge on these ideological demands:

• No federal financing for Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions. Instead, state administration of federal family planning funds, which means that Republican governors and legislatures will not spend them.

• No local financing for abortion services in the District of Columbia.

• No foreign aid to countries that might use the money for abortion or family planning. And no aid to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports family-planning services.

• No regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency.

• No funds for health care reform or the new consumer protection bureau established in the wake of the financial collapse.

So if the tea smokers get their shut-down – which will cost as much as $500 million dollars a week – it will be partially due to their Talibanish compulsion to control the uterus of not just every women in the USA, but every woman in Mexico City and Cairo. There are some dark corners of the world and history where that kind of thinking is considered reasonable. The worlds’ greatest liberal republic is not one of them. Once the RepubliTaliban succeeds in bringing all these hungry new people into the world, they certainly do not care if they have a job, since the $33 billion dollars in cuts Democrats have agreed to compromise on will be a further drag on the economy. They certainly do not care if those American children get health care since the Republican plan includes making cuts in health care to those who need it most. The right-wing Republican brand has been built on several laughable tag lines. One is they are the “serious” people. How seriously can America take a group of zealots who are holding government workers, American business and enlisted military hostage so they can dictate intimate health decisions for every woman in America. Feministing also notes what conservatives say versus what they actually do, and the repercussion of their policies, It comes down to this, again.

So it comes down to this, again. The government shutdown comes down to whether or not politicians care about women’s health.

The Republicans, we already know, do not care. Not only do they not care, they’re actively working to make it more difficult for American women to receive life-saving healthcare.

And we should not be surprised for a moment. The GOP’s insistence that they care most about and are focused on jobs has been repeatedly contradicted by their attempts to block access to reproductive healthcare in the states. The GOP, despite its insistence that the government that governs least governs best, has spent the last few months devising as many avenues as possible for the government to involve itself in every pregnancy in the country. As the Times editorial board observes today, this is not about spending, and it’s not about making government smaller or more efficient.

OK, the anti-women’s health riders and Paul Ryan’s budget boondoggle might create some jobs. There are about 170 million women in America and policing their ovaries every minute is going to require a lot of government agents. The stealth sabotage of Medicare will take a toll on women, children and seniors – Rep. Paul Ryan’s Free-Market ‘Death Panels’

“For older people the prospect of getting and paying for private health insurance is daunting,” Guilloton wrote “For instance, in Connecticut a PPO with a $5,000 deductible would cost a 60-64 year old and spouse between $1,400 and $1,900 a month. And that cost presumes that they either are part of a company group plan or have no pre-existing conditions.

“The plan to return control of access to health insurance companies without addressing the issue of eligibility and cost control is simply to return to the very pattern of abuse in place before the attempt at health care reform.”

The elimination of Obama’s health-care reform also would remove requirements that insurance companies devote a high percentage of their premiums to medical services rather than diverting the money to higher executive salaries and greater profits.

In other words, Ryan’s plan would fatten the insurance industry’s bottom line by squeezing the elderly on health care. In effect, the plan would create a free-market “death panel” by forcing many senior citizens to skip necessary care.

Some Republicans are not only admitting the Ryan plan is health care rationing, but are incredulous that everyone has not woken up to the necessity of rationing. To be fair, health care is already rationed. ObamaCare ended some of that by doing away with insurance companies refusing to insure some high risks people or rescinding their insurance on some flimsy basis. Who do we want to have the most power, to be the most if not completely empowered? Individual patients, not the insurance companies, as they would under the Ryan/Republican plan.

Like a lot of their “values”, the conservative media has some twisted values when it comes to journalistic ethics. Wingnuttia’s own Hot Air and Ed Morrissey has embraced the mendacious lie as a regular part of his repertoire, Obama: I’ll veto funding for the troops. In short since President Obama would not endorse the House bill with all the riders unrelated to solving the imaginary budget crisis that is exactly the same thing as not funding the troops,

Really?  Will Obama really argue that he can’t abide a one-week CR so much that he’s willing to shut down the government and leave the troops without income for an indeterminate amount of time?  This statement concedes that this bill takes the troops out of the line of fire in the budget debate.  Kirsten Powers recognized the obvious, remarking on Twitter: “Can’t believe Obama fell for the “funding the troops” trick. He’ll have to change position on veto threat.”

Ed and all the right-wing blogs and Twittereres that echoed this nonsense had a simple choice to make. The truth on one hand or a lie on behalf of an agenda that is morally vacant to the core, While Slamming Obama For Opposition To ‘Troop Funding Bill,’ House GOP Votes Down Troop Funding — Twice

Slate’s Dave Weigel noted that five minutes after the White House declared H.R. 1363 unacceptable, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) slammed President Obama for threatening to veto a bill to “ensure that our troops are paid.” Minutes later, Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) ripped Democrats for “girding to oppose a ‘troop-funding bill.’” Republican lawmakers quickly picked up the rallying cry. Reps. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Harold Rodgers (R-KY) called it “astonishing” and “inexplicable” that Obama would, as GOP shutdown architect Newt Gingrich put it, use the troops as “bargaining chips for budget negotiations.”

There’s only one problem with this talking point — it’s the opposite of true. Today, the House Democrats tried three times to pass a measure that would ensure the troops received pay. The Republicans overwhelmingly opposed every single “troop-funding” opportunity:

– Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY) offered a motion to recommit that would ensure all military personnel received pay for the rest of the year. Only one Republican, Rep. Walter Jones (NC), voted with every Democrat to consider this amendment.

– House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), first by unanimous consent and then by amendment, offered an alternative budget measure that would provide a 1-week extension of the current budget agreement until April 15. The “clean” continuing resolution alternative includes funding for the military but omits the irrelevant policy riders the GOP attached to H.R. 1363. Republicans unanimously voted against consideration of the alternative.

What’s more, the Obama administration announced today that it “would support a short-term, clean Continuing Resolution” like the alternative Democrats offered. Thus, by voting against these measures, House Republicans are flatly refusing to support any “troop funding bill” unless their anti-abortion and anti-environmental riders get passed.

Readers in the military or have friends or family in the military – the shut-down is completely avoidable. If you do not get paid it will be because of Republican holding women’s rights hostage and the environment. This is not a dare, but a challenge for anyone who has time – post TPro’s recounting of what actually happened at Hot Air and some other right-wing blogs that have linked to them and see how long it takes for the truth to be deleted. Why are House Republicans trying to control uteruses- domestic and foreign in these riders – because they know they’ll lose the debate if they try to pass those riders on their own. This may seem unrelated but it tells America a lot about the real Republican agenda. It is not about jobs or freedom or the economy, it is about assaults on basic human rights, Idaho Rejects Rape Exception In Abortion Bill Because ‘The Hand Of The Almighty’ Was At Work

Marching in step with the GOP’s nationwide war on a woman’s right to choose, the Idaho legislature gave final approval to a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks. Modeled after Nebraska’s first-in-the-nation measure, the bill — like the one passed in Kansas last week — is based on highly disputed medical research alleging that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Idaho’s bill, however, also fails to include exceptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality or the mental or psychological health of the mother. “Only when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or physical health could a post-20-week abortion be performed.”

Rape and incest victims by definition have been attacked and tortured. Maybe some victims may see the children pregnancies produced by these encounters as ‘God’s blessing”. If so they are free to proceed as they see fit. Republicans are taking away that choice. Even in cases where the fetus – usually at around 20 weeks – has been determined likely to be born dead, Republicans still want big government to force her to carry to full term. So much of conservative values has the tint of Sharia law, one wonders why they have paranoid fantasies about it becoming established in the US. Radical Muslims and Republicans both seem to want to push back human rights to the 18th century.

Black and White City of Miami wallpaper – Republicans to Gut Medicare Over Nonexistent Federal Budget Crisis

 

Black and White City of Miami wallpaper

Jonathan Cohn is among the few who are now buying into the absurd meme that Paul Ryan’s plans for Medicare and the budget in general are “courageous” and “serious”. Telling it like it is, Ryan to 32M Americans: No Insurance for You

…about 32 million fewer nonelderly people would have health insurance in 2019, leaving a total of about 54 million nonelderly people uninsured. The share of legal nonelderly residents with insurance coverage in 2019 would be about 83 percent, compared with a projected share of 94 percent under current law (and 83 percent currently).

Nothing has changed from Ryan’s Road Map To Death. Ryan’s proposal drips with irony. Is it “courageous” to have the audacity with which he and his supporters display their contempt for life. Republicans tried to pass off President Obama’s non-existent death panels as a threat to grandma, while Ryan’s plan is an actual death sentence for many children, disabled and seniors. GOP Moving To Dismantle Medicare

The idea to privatize Medicare is a significant part of Ryan’s “Roadmap for America.” As we previously reported, Ryan claimed in his book, Young Guns (written with Reps. Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy), that his “Roadmap” will “secure the future of Social Security and Medicare.” However, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), his plan would actually dismantle Medicare:

The Ryan plan would eliminate traditional Medicare, most of Medicaid, and all of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), converting these health programs largely to vouchers that low-income households, seniors, and people with disabilities could use to help buy insurance in the private health insurance market.

But as the AP article notes, “The amount of the voucher would be based on total current Medicare spending and indexed to grow year by year thereafter. But that growth would be less than the torrid pace of health care inflation now.” So basically, each year the vouchers would be worth less and less coverage and “by 2080, Medicare would be cut 76 percent below its projected size under current policies.”

Ryan’s plan says you can use your little voucher to shop for insurance. Your health care costs are $14k for the year, but your plan has a $12k per year limit. You can’t sell enough blood to make up the difference. Let’s put aside labels for the moment about where people fit in on the working poor, blue-collar, middle-class scale. Half of all working households make less than $55k a year. These are not lazy people. According to the census they are the vast majority of the people who live in my and surrounding districts. They are air-craft maintenance workers, office administrators, teachers and construction workers, cab drivers – the people who make up America’s work force. They tend to think they’re going to be OK. Between their savings, Medicare and Social Security they will, if the worse happens, have a basic buffer against the worse of times, House Budget Committee Chairman Republican Paul Ryan’s Plan Gets Roughly Two-Thirds of His Huge Budget Cuts From Programs for Lower-Income Americans

That half of Americans and those slightly above the median better hope that Wall St and Washington does a better job of managing the nation’s economy than they did during the Reagan and Bush 43 years, because they are a breath away from depending on the “bold” and “brave” ideas of Ryannomics for their survival. Everyone fighting for survival on the island usually means someone does not survive, The 2022 Medicare Crisis

Matt Yglesias has a very good point: the supposed transition strategy under the Ryan plan, in which everyone currently over 55 gets Medicare as we know it, while everyone younger than that gets vouchers that won’t be enough to buy adequate insurance, sets up an unstable political dynamic. In fact, we can be sure that whatever happens, it won’t be what the plan says will happen.

If the Medicare Advantage precedent holds, what will happen in 2022 or a bit later is that Congress will react to the fury of younger seniors — who see that those born just a few years earlier have vastly better benefits than they do — by increasing the vouchers. And the end result, in that case, would be that the Ryan plan substantially increases Medicare costs; remember that the payment increases that were part of the 2003 Medicare bill, introduced to rescue failing Medicare Advantage programs, have resulted in large overpayments, adding hundreds of billions to the program’s costs.

Alternatively, if the benefit cuts stick, you’ll have a lot of furious people realizing that they are paying high taxes to support lavish medical care for older Baby Boomers, while being themselves condemned to pleading with insurance companies to provide coverage in return for an inadequate voucher.

Just as conservatives have tried to divide the working class over unions and the perception of unearned compensation, conservatives are using divisions between age groups to cultivate resentment. You get enough resentment going between groups – the Southern Strategy anyone – and those groups can do a pretty good job of helping you tear down the programs and progress conservatives have long hated. All the numbers and percentages are great up to a point. In addition to the numbers America might ask itself some fundamental questions. How is it that the U.S. is still the richest country in the world and cannot or will not provide health insurance and health care to every American that needs it. Is it possible that we practice a perverted brand of capitalism that always seems to do right by the plutocrats, but one major political party genuinely does not care whether you live or die. Isn’t there a better more moral capitalism that looks out for everyone. What kind of system has contempt for children, the sick, the disabled and the retired or the unlucky and unemployed. While there are some long-term structural issues that need to be worked out, what is the immediate problem. Ryan and the extremists on the Right, and a few Democrats to boot, say it is a huge federal debt. The most generous thing one can say about that view is that it is a con. What is not sustainable an economy where the wealthiest corporations pay little to no taxes and the wealthiness 2% are living like Robber Barons. Never rising taxes on the rich is the crisis. This country has plenty of money to have a sturdy morally imperative safety net. Giving the majority of the population it’s fair share is not welfare, it is he fair and equitable thing to do. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and programs such as Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are insurance and payback for services rendered. There is no federal budget crisis that is so dire (what there is of a crisis is one that Republicans created) that we need to steal from the poor to give to the rich, there is a crisis of leadership and a well informed public.

The Citizens for Tax Justice (pdf) notes,

Rep. Ryan’s House GOP Budget Plan
Federal Government Would Collect $2 Trillion Less Over a Decade
and Yet Require Bottom 90 Percent to Pay Higher Taxes

And can you guess who gets a tax break? The richest one percent.

Republicans such as Wisconsin Governor Walker and Florida’ Governor’s Scott are laboratories in progress of Ryannomics. Walker is not fairing too well and Scott is in trouble, Florida Voters Turn Thumbs Down On Gov. Scott, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds

Voters disapprove 55 – 36 percent of the way Scott is handling the budget. They say 52 – 41 percent that Scott should not have pledged to balance the budget without raising taxes and by 64 – 24 percent they say he will not be able to keep that no-tax pledge.

Florida voters are not wild about the idea of tax increasing, who is in the general, but they are against a package of essential service cuts and corporate tax cuts. This is going to play out on the national level. Should the government gut Medicare or rise the Koch brothers taxes a few percent.

update: A new CBO look at Ryans’ plan,

Ryan is proposing huge (and largely unspecified) spending cuts; but he’s also proposing very large tax cuts, mainly, of course, for those with high incomes. And as you can see, a large part — roughly half — of the spending cuts are going, not to deficit reduction, but to finance those tax cuts.

Western Spring wallpaper – Republicans to Drain the Middle-class

Western Spring wallpaper

Values is a neutral word all by itself. Massey Energy management has values – they value eking out a few dollars more in profit over the safety of miners. The Right, neo-liberals and and other assorted characters think they displayed values when they conned the nation into a three trillion dollar war. They just happen to have abhorrent values. For thirty plus years, conservatives and conservative Democrats bought into the idea that regulation and tax cuts would bring us economic nirvana. Again, those were values, disastrous ones that have caused a lot of misery for millions of Americans. These economic values were the great experiment in let’s run the country in an anything goes decadent free for all that would have made Nero blush. The wealthy and powerful fiddled, made huge profits, while the rest of American either tread water or lost ground. Now that the experiment has gone up in smoke someone has to pay the bill. People that valued fairness would show some humility, some shame, some remorse over all the cons they pulled on the USA. Like a guess that came for dinner, drink too much and destroyed the fine china you inherit from your grandmother, you would think Republicans and their friends in the McMansions, who are now receiving the same multi-million dollars bonuses that were getting before they trashed the china, would speak up and pay their fair share of the recovery or at least publicly discourage further tax cuts, further deregulation and further burdens on the victims of their shenanigans. Senate Republican Leaders’ Proposed Balanced Budget Amendment

The balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that Senate Republican leaders unveiled today is the most radical major fiscal policy proposal in decades. It would require a balanced budget every year regardless of the state of the economy, an exceedingly unwise requirement that most economists have long counseled against because it would require the largest budget cuts or tax increases when the economy is weakest and thereby could tip faltering economies into recessions and make recessions worse (see box). It also would require budget cuts of such a magnitude as to force policymakers to severely slash Medicare, Medicaid, and many other programs or scrap them altogether — even while opening the door to massive new tax cuts.

[   ]…The last year that federal spending was 16.7 percent of GDP or lower was 1956 . In that year, Medicare and Medicaid did not exist and millions of workers (including many low-income and minority workers) were excluded from Social Security. Federal aid to education barely existed. Most federal environmental protection did not exist. Nor, for that matter, did most basic programs to ease poverty and hardship such as Supplemental Security Income for the elderly and disabled poor, food stamps, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. More than a third of elderly Americans lived in poverty, infant mortality was far above today’s levels, and rates of child malnutrition in some areas of the country approached those of Third World nations.

Even under President Reagan, federal expenditures averaged 22 percent of GDP — and that was before any members of the baby boom generation had retired; at a time when health care spending was a third lower as a share of GDP than it is today; and before the 9/11 terrorist attacks led policymakers to create a new category of homeland security spending and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led to increases in veterans’ health costs that will endure for decades.

Those in the top 5% income bracket or corporations in general, hey good times, if you’re short-sighted and greedy anyway. If you’re a retail clerk, a teacher, a cop, a mid-level supervisor, a waiter, a customer service operator, a fire fighter, a truck driver or a brick layer – you and your grand parents will be paying the bill for the wreckage left by millionaires. We’re doing things this way because of what Republicans value – rewarding wealth. More here, GOP Budget Proposal for 2012 to Gut Medicaid

Meanwhile, Governor Jan Brewer’s real-world death panels are already offering a glimpse into the national dystopian future that is Arizona nightmare present. Still struggling\to stop the growing body count from draconian cuts to the state’s transplant surgery program, Governor Brewer last week proposed new Medicaid fees for “adults who lead unhealthy lives.” (As McClatchy noted, “A 2008 study by Arizona State University found that that state’s structural deficits could be traced to 15 years of tax cuts, mainly income-tax reductions that ‘were not matched by spending cuts of a commensurate size.'”)

It’s the Grover Norquist zombie and its progeny let louse on America’s most vulnerable citizens. There is nothing I could ever say that would instill a sense of decency in those conservatives suffer from a Norquist infection. I could recount the tales of dying children, middle-aged working class Americans condemned to death for lack of funding for an organ transplant, the elderly retirees living on baloney and peanut butter. Those stories would be like bouncing BBs off an armored plated heart. Georgia has a Norquist zombie as governor, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal Proposes Massive Tax Cuts For The Rich, Big Tax Hikes for Middle Class

For example, it lowers the state personal income tax rate from 6 to 4.5 percent. Yet at the same time, the bill is being touted as being revenue neutral — meaning that revenue has to come from somewhere. Georgia Republicans, under the leadership of Deal, have decided to make up the difference by eliminating a whole host of tax exemptions and increases in sales taxes. The end result? Georgians making over $180,000 would see steep tax cuts while middle class Georgians making between $20,000 and $180,000 would see tax hikes. This chart compiled by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman using data from Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center illustrates this:

While negotiations over the tax bill are far from over, it appears that Deal and his Republican colleagues are standing behind a template that is becoming all too familiar for right-wing legislators: cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans and then demand that middle class and working class Main Street Americans pay out more in tax hikes or in reduced spending to health care, education, and other important investments. As ThinkProgress previously reported, at least a dozen states are currently pursuing corporate tax cuts while at the same time increasing burdens on working families.

The zombies do make exception for their brain eating agenda – the middle-class and working poor can cough up a few more dollars to pay for tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy. This is the way Republicans, the conservative Democrats and the media portray how capitalism works. We have to kiss the collectives asses of the well off because they create jobs. The purveyors of the conventional wisdom believes, much the same way hardheaded dogmatists believe in the inerrancy of their beliefs, that capital reigns supreme. Where does capital come from. Capital comes from the people the Right likes to call thugs – the American worker. If that is not the case than the Coors family can make, package and truck all their beer themselves. The Koch brothers can roll up their shelves and do an honest day’s work before they die. Right-wing sugar daddy Richard Mellon Scaife can get off his lazy ass and produce one actual product or service instead of having someone do those things for him. No workers, no work, equals no millionaires. Every wealthy American’s wealth is built directly or indirectly on the shoulders of workers. America doesn’t owe the millionaires anything, the millionaires owe America a sense of humility and the moral obligation to pay back just a little for their good fortune.

As of today it does look like we’ll have a government shut-down. Since it seems imminent and because of the draconian measures Republicans would like to take against programs such as Medicare, hey, bring it. The public’s reaction to what Scott Walker did in Wisconsin will play out nationally in the 2012 elections.

One of the newer memes from Wingnuttia, Broken Record: Right-Wing Media Spread Falsehoods About Obama’s Energy Policies. From the Washington Times to Fox News to M’s Palin, everything having to do with higher gas prices ( and food) is President Obama’s fault. I have plenty of issues with Democrats and President Obama, but higher fuel and food prices are not ones that I can reasonably assign to them.

Former Mobile Exec Gheit: Gulf Moratorium Had “Zero” Impact On Gas Prices. FactCheck.org examined several claims regarding the Obama administration’s energy policies, including the claim that Obama’s policies have increased gas prices, and found:

So, why have gasoline prices gone up and what impact have Obama’s policies had on oil production and gasoline prices?

We talked to Fadel Gheit, a former Mobil Oil executive who is now a senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. Asked about the impact of the deepwater moratorium, Gheit said the moratorium had a “negative impact on production, but not as much as the politicians would like us to believe.” The impact of the moratorium on gas prices? “Nothing. Zero,” he said.

[  ]…Michael Canes: “Not Credible To Blame The Obama Administration’s Drilling Policies For Today’s High Prices.” While noting that he disagrees with the Obama administration’s policies on oil and gas drilling, Michael Canes, research fellow at the Logistics Management Institute and former chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, told Media Matters via email that it is “not credible” to blame Obama’s policies for the high gas prices…

[   ]…Tom O’Donnell: “The Amount Of Extra Oil That The U.S. Would Produce” Would Have “Almost Insignificant” Effect On Prices. Tom O’Donnell, professor of Graduate International Affairs at The New School and expert on the globalized energy sector, said blaming the high gas prices on the administration’s drilling policy mistakes correlation for causation.

Domestic oil production is fact at a peak compared to production over the last decade.

Coastal Inlet wallpaper – The Debt is Not The Issue. Republican Malfeasance is The Issue

Spring wallpaper

Coastal Inlet wallpaper

Republicans eye bigger cuts amid budget fight

Republicans in the House of Representatives are expected to unveil a budget plan next week for the coming fiscal year that would cut taxes, deepen spending cuts and cut the Medicaid health-insurance plan for the poor and disabled, according to lawmakers and aides familiar with the plan.

House Speaker John Boehner said Congress needed to address the rising cost of benefit programs that were expected to explode in the coming decades due to an aging population.

“It’s clear that Washington has to act on the big challenges that face our country,” Boehner said at a news conference. “It is time to quit kicking the can down the road.”

The plan will move more aggressively to cut budget deficits, which have hovered around 10 percent of gross domestic product in recent years, than a proposal put forward by President Barack Obama, lawmakers said.

But it would not balance the budget for 20 years at the earliest, said Republican Representative Tim Scott. That may not be fast enough for the party’s more conservative members, who are planning a budget proposal of their own.

The proposal, which House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is expected to unveil on Tuesday, serves as a blueprint for the coming fiscal year, which starts on October 1.

It will arrive in the thick of a debate over the budget for the current fiscal year. Lawmakers have taken the government to the brink of a shutdown as they struggle to reconcile a Republican plan that would cut $61 billion from the current budget with a Democratic plan that would keep spending essentially flat.

You have to give the media and conservatives credit for changing the subject. The costs of the Bush tax cuts from 2001 to 2010 cost over $2 trillion dollars. 52.5% of the benefits of those cuts went to the richest 5% of Americans. I’m rounding, but pretending for a moment that conservative Republicans were rational adults capable of empathy, they could have looked at those numbers and negotiated a deal to keep about 64% of all of the Bush tax cuts and paid for the current tea baggers wish the list for $61 billion in budget cuts easily. The issue is not exploding welfare to lazy ne’er do wells – part of the  conservative world view that should die along with the antiquated notion of a flat earth. The issue is that since Reagan, every time Republicans control government they run up a huge debt – Iraq alone will cost $3 trillion dollars or more – and they cut taxes. President Obama out Reaganed them by passing two tax cuts, which helped him politically, but did not help in terms of the long-term debt. A debt which is far from some inexplicable black hole. An economic recovery with unemployment below 5% and a slight increase in revenue and all the doom-sayers could be retired back to their caves. NOW WE MUST CUT THOSE FAT CHECKS TO THE ELDERLY AND DISABLED or all is surely lost. Many think, while others wish, the debate was just about numbers or the noise from right-wing pundits and news outlets. They are only part of the problem. We’re battling ignorance with deep roots. Poll: Americans Wrongly Estimate $178 Billion In Fed. Budget Goes To Public Broadcasting. No wonder so much of the public cannot get a handle on diagnosing the problem. If the USA were a cancer patient, the public has the answer, do some triple heart bypass surgery. Public Broadcasting only received $420 million last year or one-hundredth of one percent of the overall budget. This is a Rasmussen poll so to be taken with a grain of salt, but let’s assume it is a close approximation of public sentiments as of today ( After looking at that CNN poll, it would not surprise me if this was close) –  57% Okay With Government Shutdown If It Leads to Deeper Budget Cuts

Republicans want to make more spending cuts in the current budget than Democrats do, but 36% of voters think it would be better to avoid a government shutdown by authorizing spending at a level most Democrats will agree to. Fifty-seven percent (57%) would rather have a shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on deeper spending cuts.

[  ]…Still, a plurality (44%) of voters thinks a partial shutdown of the federal government would be bad for the economy, down four points from February.  Twenty-three percent (23%) say a shutdown would be good for the economy, while a similar number (22%) say it would have no impact, a seven-point increase from the previous survey.

It is difficult to say what a government shut down would cost today, The Daily Beast estimates the cost of the Newt Gingrich shut-down of 1996, What Happens If Government Shuts Down?

Shutting down the government should at least save money, right? Not necessarily. In fact, they have serious economic ramifications. An OMB calculation in January 1996 estimated the cost of the 26 total days of shutdown at $1.4 billion in taxpayer money.

The Damages: How much will taxpayers and businesses lose?

BFS – Government Shutdown – Damages Shutting down the government should at least save money, right? Not necessarily. In fact, the 1995 shutdowns had serious economic ramifications. An OMB calculation in January 1996 estimated the cost of the 26 total days of shutdown at $1.4 billion in taxpayer money—although a good chunk of that came from back salaries paid to furloughed workers. But the National Park Service forwent more than $14 million per day in revenue, businesses and local governments near parks missed out on an estimated $295 million due to closures, and U.S. tourist industries and airlines lost “millions of dollars,” according to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

Using an on-line inflation calculator a 26 day shut-down today would cost about $1.9 billion. While many essentials services would continue – the FBI would report to work, Social Security and Medicare checks would most likely still be delivered, many agencies do not have a shut down plan. And while military personnel would still have to report to work, they might not be paid during this shut down because of the way incremental spending bills have been passed rather than spending for the entire year. As the DB reminds everyone, the costs are not just in terms of money. Newt’s political fortunes took a nose dive from which he never recovered. Clinton did not come out smelling like roses, but once Democrats, independents and some disgruntled Republicans were added in, the public held Newt accountable. So House majority leader John Boehner (R-OH) can be held hostage by the tea bags and he can think seriously about being Newt redux.

Whatever Democrats faults  – the perception among progressives and liberals they are not fighting as hard as they should – to the average voter, Democrats are looking more and more like the mature responsible adults. This is the alternative, Rick Scott is the Bernie Madoff of Conservatism, one of America’s most successful criminals who Republican rewarded with a governorship, Gov. Rick Scott orders immediate cuts to programs for disabled

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered deep cuts Thursday to programs that serve tens of thousands of residents with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disabilities.

Though a range of state services face cuts from this year’s Legislature, the governor invoked his emergency powers to order the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities to immediately roll back payments to group homes and social workers by 15 percent — an amount providers say could put them out of business and threaten their clients’ safety.

“lt’s not like, ‘Gee, does this mean I have to skip a vacation this year?'” said Amy Van Bergen, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. “Potentially, these cuts have life and death implications for these people.”

An estimated 30,000 Floridians with severe developmental disabilities receive services that help them live outside of nursing homes — typically with family or in small group homes. Aides help them eat, bathe, take medication and otherwise care for themselves.

But this is not a budget emergency. Scott is further rolling back corporate and property taxes.

 

“We’ve been told the only reason corporations aren’t creating more jobs here is the punitive corporate tax rate fueled by our workers’ demands for a “western” standard of living. But apparently, even with their negative-60-percent tax rate, G.E. has a cut a fifth of its American jobs in the last nine years, while boosting jobs overseas. Y’know, I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn’t realize is that those people are assholes.”
—Jon Stewart