Small Boats Sunset wallpaper – The Attack of The Serious People

Small Boats Sunset wallpaper

 

For better or worse the debt ceiling debate has turned into a horse race story. The closer any political event can be framed into a horse race context the better most of the media likes it … Boehner has a plan, talks break down, Reid has a compromise, tea toddler Republicans pull back. So ABC’s report of a tentative debt ceiling compromise might mean something for the next few hours and then disappear into the news ether, Congressional Sources: Republicans and Democrats Reach Tentative Debt Deal

Here, according to Democratic and Republican sources, are the key elements:

A debt ceiling increase of up to $2.1 to $2.4 trillion (depending on the size of the spending cuts agreed to in the final deal).
They have now agreed to spending cuts of roughly $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
The formation of a special Congressional committee to recommend further deficit reduction of up to $1.6 trillion (whatever it takes to add up to the total of the debt ceiling increase).  This deficit reduction could take the form of spending cuts, tax increases or both.
The special committee must make recommendations by late November (before Congress’ Thanksgiving recess).
If Congress does not approve those cuts by December 23, automatic across-the-board cuts go into effect, including cuts to Defense and Medicare. This “trigger” is designed to force action on the deficit reduction committee’s recommendations by making the alternative painful to both Democrats and Republicans.
A vote, in both the House and Senate, on a balanced budget amendment.

Democrats won’t like the fact that Medicare could be exposed to automatic cuts, but the size of the Medicare cuts is limited and they are designed to be taken from Medicare providers, not beneficiaries.

Keep the concept of the “triggers” in mind and that most of the immediate cuts are going to come from savings on Iraq and winding down Afghanistan. Whether any future decreases in the deficit are from revenue increase is debatable as of today. Other sources are reporting that new taxes are off the table, but we have to put on our special decoder rings to parse even that aspect of the deal – Outlines of Debt Compromise Emerge

Other component parts of the tentative deal include:

$2.8 trillion in deficit reduction with $1 trillion locked in through discretionary spending caps over 10 years and the remainder determined by a so-called super committee.
The Super Committee must report precise deficit-reduction proposals by Thanksgiving.
The Super Committee would have to propose $1.8 trillion spending cuts to achieve that amount of deficit reduction over 10 years.
If the Super Committee fails, Congress must send a balanced-budget amendment to the states for ratification. If that doesn’t happen, across-the-board spending cuts would go into effect and could touch Medicare and defense spending.
No net new tax revenue would be part of the special committee’s deliberations.

I do not see Democrats in the House agreeing to some kind of Rube Goldberg switch which automatically sends a balanced budget amendment to the states – with the possibility that spending would freeze and we’d be right back to defaulting on the debt ceiling. Since we’re playing the horse race game I wouldn’t bet on that provision being part of any final deal. I’ll get back to the balanced budget amendment bunk in a minute. Republicans like this deal. So that means there is some element of crazy about it. Conservatives like to be thought of as serious. They know everything there is to know about economics, wars, culture, the Constitution. Combine that with a complete lack of humility and their uncanny knack for turning the things they are experts on into boondoggles and you have one of the reasons The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert never run out of material. Republicans both ran up historic deficits and increased the debt ceiling 7 times during the Bush administration. The economy tanks, Obama becomes President, he increase spending slightly as a response to the recession, but also because of the spending programs that Republicans had already voted for in 2008. 2010 the tea fanatics come to the House. The tea fanatics are the adult conservatives who like to pretend they were too busy to notice that Republicans were running up trillions in debt with two wars and not paying for them, passing Medicare part D – again not paid for until Obama in 2009, cutting taxes again for millionaires and were letting Wall Street run wild with the nation’s wealth. To prove how really really serious they are now, those same conservatives decide to hold the economy hostage using the debt ceiling because of all this spending that they voted for years before. These very serious nutters have rejected President Obama’s Grand Bargain even though it cuts twice as much as the compromise as reported today. These ever so astute and intellectual honest have rejected the plan worked out on by Republican House leadership and Vice President Biden which put us closer to a balanced budget sooner with about the same cuts. One of the reasons Cantor walked away from the Biden talks was pressure by farm state tea nutter Congress reps to preserve ethanol subsidies. House majority leader Eric Cantor once demanded that all the cuts – meaning all the sacrifices come from things like student loans, Medicaid and veterans benefits. he stood there with his serious straight face claiming his was a great proposal. No mention of tax reform for corporate jets and other write-offs used by millionaires, instead asking only sacrifices from those who have nothing to sacrifice. So the debt ceiling zealots were not asking for diamond ransoms from millionaires, they were asking for hip replacement surgery for grandma as ransom. They were asking that disabled veterans living from pay check to pay check find ways to cut back, not that the Koch brothers chip in a few million for the society that made their billions possible. The new improved conservatives are serious all right. They seriously lacking a moral compass.

A couple very short trips in the way back machine – The Truth About Federal Spending

So what’s the truth? I’ve written about this before, but here’s another take.

The fact is that federal spending rose from 19.6% of GDP in fiscal 2007 to 23.8% of GDP in fiscal 2010. So isn’t that a huge spending spree? Well, no.

First of all, the size of a ratio depends on the denominator as well as the numerator. GDP has fallen sharply relative to the economy’s potential; here’s the ratio of real GDP to the CBO’s estimate of potential GDP:

A 6 percent fall in GDP relative to trend, all by itself, would have raised the ratio of spending to GDP from 19.6 to 20.8, or about 30 percent of the actual rise.

That still leaves a rise in spending; but most of that is safety-net programs, which spend more in hard times because more people are in distress.

US recessions via the Federal reserve
Safety net spending as percent of GDP. Which is a reasonable response to the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression

 

This table from the Office of Management and Budget is also helpful by way of putting the spending bump of 2009 in perspective:

Historical Tables provides data on budget receipts, outlays, surpluses or deficits, Federal debt, and Federal employment over an extended time period, generally from 1940 or earlier to 2012 or 2016

 

Larger version. The yellow shows spending outlays as a percentage of GDP from the Bush years until the projected 2012 budget. Spending shot up a few percent in 2009 and went back down to historical averages in 2010. Did that happen because president Obama, who has submitted a deficit reduction plan so far to the Right it that makes Ronald Reagan look like Karl Marx. No. It happened because of the economy serious conservatives helped trash and because of spending programs that Republicans voted for – Republican Leaders Voted for Debt Drivers They Blame on Obama

Yet the speaker, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all voted for major drivers of the nation’s debt during the past decade: Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts and Medicare prescription drug benefits. They also voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, that rescued financial institutions and the auto industry.

Together, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News, these initiatives added $3.4 trillion to the nation’s accumulated debt and to its current annual budget deficit of $1.5 trillion.

So welcome to the crisis conservatives created and the B-movie sequel in which they try to convince the audience and the media they are the good guys. Jonathan Chait gets into how the press, especially the WaPo, helped sell the debt ceiling drama. The Debt Ceiling Crisis And The Failure Of The Establishment

Republicans also seem to feel deeply in their serious dried up black hearts that passing a balanced budget amendment would be the road to utopia. A Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Threatens Great Economic DamageRaises Host of Problems for Social Security and Other Key Federal Functions

Beyond the economy, the balanced budget amendment would raise other problems.  That’s due to its requirement that federal spending in any year must be offset by revenues collected in that same year.  Social Security could not draw down its reserves from previous years to pay benefits in a later year but, instead, could be forced to cut benefits even if it had ample balances in its trust funds, as it does today.  The same would be true for military retirement and civil service retirement programs.  Nor could the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation respond quickly to bank or pension fund failures by using their assets to pay deposit or pension insurance, unless they could do so without causing the budget to slip out of balance.

[  ]…Over the years, leading economists have warned of the adverse effects of a constitutional balanced budget amendment.  For example, in congressional testimony in 1992, Robert Reischauer — then director of the Congressional Budget Office and one of the nation’s most respected experts on fiscal policy — explained:  “[I]f it worked [a constitutional balanced budget amendment] would undermine the stabilizing role of the federal government.”  Reischauer noted that the automatic stabilizing that occurs when the economy is weak “temporarily lowers revenues and increases spending on unemployment insurance and welfare programs.  This automatic stabilizing occurs quickly and is self-limiting — it goes away as the economy revives — but it temporarily increases the deficit.  It is an important factor that dampens the amplitude of our economic cycles.”  Under the constitutional amendment, he explained, these stabilizers would no longer operate automatically.

I have gotten into the habit of calling the Great Recession the second largest downturn in our history. The current economic train wreck is probably worse just in terms of the nation’s lost wealth. The reason it does not look as bad as the Great Depression is because of programs like Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. Even the Republicans who should be most acutely aware of this are not. They are like the Republicans at the health care reform protests with the signs that said keep the government’s hands off my Medicare.

Protester that does not know Medicare is a government insurance program

 

One last excerpt from the same report on a balanced budget amendment:

The potential effects on the banking system also are cause for concern.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) holds substantial reserves, in the form of Treasury securities, to insure the savings of depositors.  These reserves are called upon when banks fail.  Similarly, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) has assets to draw upon if a corporation’s defined-benefit pension plan goes bankrupt.

Here, too, the balanced budget amendment would make it unconstitutional for the FDIC and the PBGC to use their assets to pay deposit or pension insurance since doing so generally would constitute “deficit spending.”  Such payments could be made only if the rest of the budget ran an offsetting surplus that year (or if Congress achieved the necessary three-fifth supermajorities to override the balanced budget requirement).

Who can predict what crazy will think. But having just had three years of bank closing do Main St Republican really want to cripple the The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). A situation where you show up one day to take money out of the bank where your entire or even half your liquid assets are in checking and savings accounts; and hey tough luck they went out of business. There is no insurance for your accounts because Republicans had bizarre fantasies about the sugary cream filled goodness of a balanced budget law. If conservatives are so sure that a balanced budget amendment is perfection on wheels, than I for one will agree to support it if they support a an amendment that average Americans will never have to suffer through a another recession.

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Democratic City Skyline wallpaper – Republican Clowns With No Humility

Democratic City Skyline wallpaper

There is not much new happening in debt ceiling negotiations that everyone has not already heard of of mid-morning. John Boehner(R-OH) plan was doomed from the start. Democrats under Nancy Pelosi’s(D-CA) leadership were never let House Republicans loose with a sharp knife to whittle away at Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security at will. That’s just crazy to contemplate, but leave it to Boehner to think it was possible. Add to that there was a spoiler for the teahadist. The bill contained funding for Pell grants. Republicans think an educated populace is a danger to their agenda and hey, its one thing they are right about. So that meant Boehner could not lose more than about 20 Republican votes. The Boehner plan was weird in that it actually cut less spending than the Harry Reid(D-NV) plan. Anyone notice a trend here. Republicans voted for the Paul Ryan plan twice. That reduced spending less than Obama’s $4 trillion dollar plan One could say the Ryan plan was more progressive and liberal than the Obama plan in total cuts( though not in specific cuts. Ryan gutted Medicare). In the Boehner versus Reid spending cuts plan, Reid’s was further to the right in total cuts. Yet in the alternate universe that is the kool-aid addled mind-set of the Right, the Obama and Reid plans are Marxist attacks on the very foundation of this country. This is why I think liberals and moderates are ill equipped to fight this battle. The only thing we have to fight with are facts. Its like rock, paper, scissors – tea bagger kool-aid drowns facts.

here are the options for understanding the fanatical Right view of current events: They do not understand what is going on, they are in denial or it is another opportunity to practice their lying techniques. Possibly a combination of the three. Our first example is Red State’s Erick Erickson – Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke:

Of course, in the real world, voting to table something is exactly the same thing as voting to kill it. But alas, the above analysis by Suzy Khimm is just good reporting on looking-glass land, as seen in this pathetic Erick Erickson post (my emphasis):

One week ago the entire conservative movement was unified behind Cut, Cap, and Balance as was both House and Senate GOP caucus — no small feat to be sure.
Then, because Harry Reid denied CCB a vote through a procedural motion, John Boehner produces a crackpot plan that rips the conservative movement apart at the seams and after taking two stabs at it, still can’t get to the promised $1.2 trillion in cuts he initially claimed it would have.

I’m not sure whether Erickson is irresponsibly misinformed or telling a deliberate lie, but Harry Reid did no such thing. Allowing a vote to table is allowing a vote.

Shouldn’t Erickson be out hunting down people who are using environmentally friendly dish washing detergent? Rather than being focusing on what “tabling” a vote means, if Erickson had stopped playing pretentious town clown for minute and looked up the Senate rules he would have seen this bit about “Cloture”.

Cloture is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to set an end to a debate without also rejecting the bill, amendment, conference report, motion, or other matter it has been debating. A Senator can make a nondebatable motion to table an amendment, and if a majority of the Senate votes for that motion, the effect is to reject the amendment. Thus, the motion to table cannot be used to conclude a debate when Senators still wish to speak and to enable the Senate to vote for the proposal it is considering. Only the cloture provisions of Rule XXII achieve this purpose.

Not disturbed by the dish washing detergent revolution or being too lazy fact check himself,  or understand basic Senate rules? Actual elected Republican officials call Erick for advice. Elements of Wingnut Style

Rule one for wingnut prose stylists: pretend it’s the 19th century. Rule two: you can never sound douchy enough. The Son of Erick:

In the past 48 hours I have had call after call after call from members of the United States Congress. They’ve read what I’ve written. They agree. But they feel the hour is short and the end is nigh.

So some are calling looking for alternatives. Some are calling looking for energy. Many are calling looking for absolution.

And so I address them and put it here so you can see my advice.

I can give no absolution for what you may be about to do.

He talks like this at Burger King, too. “I have come here, as the hour of lunch is nigh, to this drive-thru, to purchase, in God’s name, a Whopper, nay, its mighty scion, a Whopper Junior, and forsooth, prithee, I desire as well the fried potatoes of Freedom, and I declare that I wish my parched gullet to be watered with the chocolate of a shake, much akin to the manner in which the ground ‘neath the Liberty Tree is watered with the blood of… patriots.”

He’s actually talking to members of Congress here, and they probably think this is all Top-Flight Oratory. (emphasis mine)

Some have suggested that conservatism is a mental illness. If  Erickson was all one read about conservatism it not unreasonable to entertain at least the passing notion that conservatism is a virus. Once infected, you’re done. Well that’s not fair. There are well educated intellectual conservatives who make honest arguments with supporting evidence.   Conservative Douglas Holtz-Eakin is a college educated economist with a Ph.D from Princeton. He was the Director of the Congressional Budget Office under Bush. Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory, July 28, 2011 9:39 P.M. By Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Hard to believe what I’m reading, hearing, and watching. It’s a concerted, bipartisan effort to snatch defeat when victory is in sight.

Let’s start with the House Democrats, who are content to make a political statement and sit on their hands. That means that the Boehner plan must pass with only Republican votes and Democrats don’t care if financial markets melt down tomorrow morning (they will).

Add to this list the White House. Are they whipping Democrats to vote for the Boehner plan, move a legislative vehicle to the House, soothe financial markets, and work to a better (in their eyes) legislative outcome in the Senate? No; that’s called governing. Instead, they are pushing a Reid proposal that will never get 60 votes in the Senate.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin is 1)Lying  2) Has no idea of the offers that Republicans have rejected all of which reduce the deficit more than the plan he thinks is just swell 3) Has not read all the Republicans saying that raising the debt ceiling either does not matter or that another economic meltdown would be good for the country. Apparently it doesn’t matter whether one is listening to one of the conservative base teahdists or one of the conservative intellectual elites, its all assclown pie.

Palin vs Boehner

She waited till this afternoon to chime in, but she’s as hostile to the establishment as Bachmann. The passive aggression is also super-Sarah:

“I respectfully ask these GOP Freshman to re-read this letter and remember us “little people” who believed in them, donated to their campaigns, spent hours tirelessly volunteering for them, and trusted them with our votes. This new wave of public servants may recall that they were sent to D.C. for such a time as this.”

And, as of the moment, the Speaker has had to delay the vote because he cannot control his own party. We will soon see who runs the GOP. I suspect it’s less Boehner than Limbaugh.

Sarah Palin and economics.

So add Palin to the lengthy list of conservatives who would prefer to shoot the hostages than pick one of the Right of center compromises proposed by Democrats. There is an old saying in the south for people like Palin and her supporters – they think their sh*t don’t stink. No matter how much they screw up or how many Americans they screw over they cannot bring themselves to have enough insights or humility to admit wrong. Should anyone being taking economic advice that left the town of Wasilla (population 5,469 in 2000) $20 Million in debt. These are very likely the people who voted conservative from 2000 to 2008 and truly believe they bear no responsibility for the disastrous legacies of that era.

Bachmann Defends Using Federal Loans She Denounced: ‘It’s Almost Impossible To Buy A Home’ Without Them. This fact based piece of yet another glaring hypocrisy on the part of yet another conservative will have zero affect on how her base of supporters think about her. If science could synthesize those ginormous powers of denial into a serum we would have a cheap replacement for opiate based rugs.

And just because I heard another conservative parrot on the news this morning repeating the Big Lie that the U.S. is on the wildest spending spree in history and that’s the problem, not revenue – The GOP just can’t handle the truth: Tax cuts, war and the financial crisis created our huge deficits

Let’s see. We’re at war in Afghanistan, so “peacetime” is dubious. Obama has cut taxes — income taxes, payroll taxes, taxes for small businesses. Private sector economic forecasters say the stimulus increased GDP growth and kept the unemployment rate from rising higher. We could even range into the subjective, and argue that from the left side of the political aisle, Obama has been anything but hostile to business and hasn’t done nearly enough to regulate the financial sector. And we could note, just for fun, that Obama’s “grandiose” social program is modeled explicitly after the healthcare reform enacted by none other than Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. (And this guy, most political analysts think, poses the biggest threat to Obama’s reelection!)

But nothing is more ridiculous than the notion that Obama is a “binge” spender. Paul Krugman rightfully calls this scurrilous accusation a “zombie lie.”

Spending: Bush versus Obama

Republicans Play Deeply Cynical Politics With Debt Ceiling

Republicans take out multiple positions on debt ceiling

Two of the heavy weights of conservatism come out with opposing positions on Boehner’s deficit reduction plan. It is not news that conservatives have been playing those game for months. It does serve as another good example of the Wall Street Cons versus the village wing-nuts as crunch time is imminent for defaulting on the debt ceiling.  A Time for Choosing by Bill Kristol

To govern is to choose. To vote is to choose. To vote against John Boehner on the House floor this week in the biggest showdown of the current Congress is to choose to vote with Nancy Pelosi. To vote against Boehner is to choose to support Barack Obama. It is to choose to increase the chances that worse legislation than Boehner’s passes. And it is to choose to increase the chances that Obama emerges from this showdown politically stronger.

This blog post from Kristol is a keeper for the scrap for two reasons. He has endorsed Boehner’s(R-OH) plan which would cut $1.8 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, all to save millionaires a few bucks on their private jets. To listen to conservatives the country’s biggest problem is deficits. So why is Kristal endorsing Boehner’s plan to reduce deficits by maybe $1.1 trillion( probably more like $850 billion) between 2012 and 2021, rather than Obama’s big deficit deal which would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years. And thanks to Kristol for the most blatant admission to date that conservatives are playing politics with the debt ceiling. Me and every other progressive blogger on the net has said that the major concern of the far Right during deficit reduction talks was not letting Obama and Democrats walk away with anything that looks like a victory. Here is Kristol making the explicit confession that all the posturing is just what it looks like, trying to give Obama the political shaft. On the other hand we have presidential candidate Michele Bachmann(R-MN) once again crossing her fingers and hoping for a meltdown, Michele Bachmann opposes House GOP debt limit plan( this is a Google/AP link and thus will go dead in a few days)

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says she opposes GOP House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to increase the federal borrowing authority.

Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, is telling Iowans that she will vote against any measure in Congress to raise the debt ceiling. The three-term House member says blocking the increase will force Congress to cut spending.

[  ]….(here Bachamnn is quoted as saying) ..  According to Bachmann, both parties have flawed approaches to this debate. ”The premise is wrong…because what we need is a fundamental restructuring of our economy,” Bachmann said.

Kudos to Bachmann for masking what will be economic Armageddon in such relatively rosy language. In general terms liberals and progressives would like to see our economy restructured as well. One that is not a plutocracy that disproportionately rewards wealth and treats labor like serfs. The big difference is that those on center to the liberal side do not want the economy to slip into an even worse meltdown. Bachmann and the teahadists think some perfect little economy will grow out of the rubble. If millions of lives are destroyed to achieve those ends, tough.

To reiterate, by pointing out the facts of the math does not mean I think Obama’s budget is the best ( that would be the People’s Budget). It just means that of the plans on the table thus far, his is the best of the worse. Taking this point of view, that facts matter, does not make anyone an Obama apologist.

This is a comment from the Politico link about the $850 billion figure for Boehner’s plan. Their commenters have to register and some such as this one have a picture of the person, so there is a higher probability that it represents a real person and genuine opinion, though no guarantee. It demonstrates  either the deep malicious ignorance of conservative views on taxes or just plain imbecility.

David B.
Party: Conservative
Reply #14
Jul. 26, 2011 – 6:46 PM EST

Ohio Citizen: Jul. 26, 2011 – 6:31 PM EST

was revenue that is nothing more than the spending Congress does through the tax code.

There is no “spending through the tax code”, as the money brought in through the tax code belongs to someone else, namely the person or entity that earned it. Adjusting the tax code to allow the person or entity to keep THEIR own money is not an expenditure, by any definition.

Nice try though

taxes are your money. How many times have we heard that overworked boiler plate. Taxes are not and should not be about confiscation. In order to run a business or to have a job, a nation must supply infrastructure – bridges, a military, firefighters, fire fighting equipment, public university to provide the trained professional engineers, nurses, teachers, doctors, security experts etc. we must have roads and those roads kept in good repair. Without those things you’re at best operating a stand on the side of a dirt road in some science fiction-like dystopia. Taxes are the price you pay for admission to a stable free market society. Your money, sure its your money but also your responsibility to pay your way. You want to participate in American society without paying taxes means you’re just a free-loader, a leech, a mooch, a parasite because you want the use of all of the infrastructure that makes your income possible without paying for it.

Public Wants a Debt Ceiling Compromise, Expects a Deal Before Deadline – GOP Widely Viewed as ‘More Extreme in Its Positions’. Who has the lowest approval rating for how they are handling the debt ceiling? Congressional Republicans. With Democrats only slightly ahead. President Obama is doing  better than both.

Digby’s post on Josh Marshall thinking the Wall Street wingers will step in and stop the village wingers,

Color me unconvinced. I’ve said before that it would take actual negative effects in the market for enough Republicans to get off their high horse, and enough Congressional Democrats (particularly in the Senate) to cave enough, to push through a default ceiling increase, albeit with very significant cuts to discretionary spending. But I don’t see any outside forces coming in to really sway things before then.

One must remember that while the Tea Party caucus in the House is a useful tool of the financial sector, and promotes economic policies that Wall St. finds highly useful, they don’t actually like Wall St.. These are the sort of people who got elected by promising never to vote for anything like TARP again, who campaigned on Barack Obama’s being a tool of New York bankers and in cahoots with them. Right wing blogs are just as full of conspiracy theories alleging that Obama is in bed with the ratings agencies to needlessly downgrade America’s credit, as some left wing blogs are, though the rationales for the theories are obviously quite different. These people aren’t going to do squat that Wall St. says unless there’s a significant real-world market effect, because they don’t really respect Wall St. or believe anything that a bunch of socially liberal bankers from New York say. And even then the question is iffy.

The weird and often contradictory relationship between the Right and Wall St deserves another post of its own. In the mean time one of the most obvious contradictions has been, as Digby notes, part of the reason the tea smokers were elected because they thought Wall St screwed them over. What has been one of the tea smokers biggest priorities since taking over the House – to fight financial regulation from being funded or implemented. You know the modest regulatory reform that might protect mom and pop tea baggers from getting shafted again by Wall St. It is not difficult to find prominent conservatives sites and politicians ( Ron Paul for example) who swears nothing will happen if the debt ceiling collapses. I’m with Digby, it is likely these nutters will not relent on the debt ceiling until they see the markets go haywire.

Part of conservatism is the enjoyment of self-inflicted hardship, but even bigger is enjoying the suffering of others or the prospects of their suffering – House GOP Plays Ben Affleck Movie Clip To Rally Caucus: ‘I Need Your Help… We’re Going To Hurt Some People’

According to the Washington Post, the House GOP leadership played a short clip from the Ben Affleck movie “The Town” to rally their caucus around Boehner’s debt plan:

Ben Affleck: I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later. And we’re going to hurt some people.

Jeremy Renner: Whose car are we going to take?

Watch it:

According to the Washington Post, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) replied “I’m ready to drive the car.”

In the movie, the characters then put on hockey masks and bludgeon two men with sticks, then shoot one man in the leg. ( emphasis mine)

Black and White Power Plant wallpaper – Republicans Think The Debt Ceiling Doesn’t Matter, Except When They Do

black and white, city, urban, lights

Black and White Power Plant wallpaper

From Ezra Klein at the WaPo this morning, Republicans have won. But can they stop there?

We don’t yet know what the final deal to raise the debt ceiling will be. But now that Harry Reid is developing a proposal with $2.7 trillion in cuts and nothing in revenues, it’s a safe bet that it won’t include any tax increases. Which means that whether Republicans realize it or not, they’ve won. The question now is whether they can stop.

Originally, the Democratic position was that we should simply raise the debt ceiling. Republicans said “no.” There would have to be a deal that reduced the deficit by at least $2.4 trillion — which is the size of the debt ceiling increase needed to get us into 2013.

Then the Democratic position was that we should raise the debt ceiling through a deal that reduced the deficit by about $2.4 trillion, with $2 trillion of that coming from spending cuts and $400 billion coming from taxes. Republicans said “no.” There would have to be a deal that disavowed taxes.

Then the Democratic position was that we should raise the debt ceiling through a deal brokered by Barack Obama that reduced the deficit by $4 trillion, with about $3 trillion of that coming from spending cuts and about $1 trillion coming from tax increases. Republicans said “no.” There would have to be a deal that disavowed taxes, and it would have to be cut between the congressional leadership of the two parties. Obama couldn’t have this as a win.

Klein is good but I would still take a wait and see approach until we see president Obama and Congressional leaders gathered around a microphone for a special announcement. As to who will be considered a winner, and this is what I think might be the sticking point to the Reid proposal, is that it would take the debt ceiling debate off the table until 2013. That means Obama got the after election time table he and Democrats wanted. We’ll also never hear Republicans say thank you for saving their electoral ass. If they push the country into default they will be going into the 2012 elections with two economic crashes to their credit.

John Hayward, another Republican fan of the worse dictatorships in history, writes this bit of hackery at Human Events, Barack the Mad – The American presidency comes off the rails

Obama blamed divided government for the debt ceiling crisis.  “I’m sympathetic to your view that this would be easier if I could do this entirely on my own,” he told a questioner who brought up the theory, fashionable in some liberal circles, that the 14th Amendment gives the President power to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally.  The President went on to remark, with a chuckle, that this would give him more time to spend with his daughters.

In addition to recoiling in horror at the thought of America’s chief executive being arrogant enough to even speculate about the joys of dictatorship out loud, a thoughtful town hall attendee might ask why the Democrats didn’t balance the budget when they had total control of Washington from 2009 to 2010, and point out that they have controlled both houses of Congress since 2006.  But you’re not supposed to ask questions like that.

 

George W. Bush joked(or was he joking) about the benefits of a dictatorship, not once, but twice:

“I told all four that there are going to be some times where we don’t agree with each other, but that’s OK. If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator,” Bush on CNN.com, December 18, 2000

“A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it, ” [Bush] said. – Business Week, July 30, 2001

Suggesting the use of the 14th amendment to avoid a debt ceiling crisis is a debatable use of that clause, but hardly constitutes a deep earning for dictatorial powers when joked about in a public forum.

Democrats did not balance the budget in one year. Conservatives seem to want it both ways – Democrats do not have a clue one minute and have super powers they refuse to use the next. 2009-2010 saw Obama stop the economy from hemorrhaging jobs which was the result of the worse economic down turn in 80 years, along with the largest debt in US history. One would think a person who specializes in political punditry would at least know who controlled what branch of government and when. Republicans controlled the Senate 1999-2001, 2003-2005, 2005-2007 (2001-2003 the Senate was evenly split) from 2007 to 2009 there was an even split with two independents ( Lieberman caucuses with Democrats but as we all know he frequently votes with conservatives). Republicans controlled the House from 2000 to 2006. Even once Democrats won back a majority in 2006 as one can see from the Senate history no Democratic sponsored legislation would have made it to the Senate for a vote much less passed. If legislation would have passed, say over hauling banking regulations, Bush would have vetoed it. As of today Democrats hold a small majority in the Senate. That means they can do a lot to block legislation passed by the House. On the other hand since that majority is less than the 60 super majority it takes to pass most legislation, Democrats are powerless to pass any bills that Republicans do not like. Currently there are 91 openings in the federal courts for judges. Republicans, even though in the minority, are blocking most of those judges from even getting a vote.  Hayward writes all over the wing-nut-osphere. So his writing and his tendency to treat facts as though they hardly mattered is indicative of the Right’s level of debate. Now as to why didn’t Democrats balanced the budget at any time during the Bush administration – why didn’t Bush or Republicans submit even one balanced budget. No modern era conservative president or Congress has balanced their budgets.

Conservative Policies and Tax Cuts Major Causes of Debt

 

More nonsense and what seems like a total rejection of the whole concept of doing research for an article,

Obama also told his audience that “it’s hard to keep up with all the different plans” for handling the debt crisis.  No, it isn’t.  There’s are only two real plans: the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, which enjoys the support of a huge majority of Americans, or leaving the debt ceiling where it is.  There are no other plans.  There are only vague outlines… absolutely none of which have come from President Obama, who has made no concrete proposals at all.

According to a CNN poll(pdf) the disastrous bill known as Cut, Cap and Balance does have not have two thirds support of the public. He is interpreting a question that asked if the public supports a balanced Budget amendment. I don’t think the public understands what a hole that would put the government in case of something like another 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, BP oil spill or some international financial situation that would require fast monetary action. Anyway as long as we’re touting that poll it also says a majority of Americans support a balanced approach of spending cuts and tax increases to get the settle the debt ceiling dispute. It also say they think Republicans will be more to blame than Democrats should a solution not be reached. When 130 Republicans currently serving in Congress voted several times to raise the ceiling under Bush one can understand why some Americans see current Republican games as pure politics.

“There are only vague outlines”? Really. As the lead story today notes Obama and Biden have proposed two very concrete plans based on cuts Republican House leadership said they wanted. By the end of Hayward’s article it turns into a contradictory shrill rant about debts and who to blame. All such articles by the Right inevitably do because they have to pretend history did not happen. They have to pretend something does not matter one day and the next day claim the same issue is of earth shattering importance. Such is the debt ceiling and deficit debate. The right-wing conservative web site Red State, Sunday, May 1st at 1:28PM EDT, The debt ceiling really doesn’t matter.

We’ve had a whole lot of talk about raising the debt ceiling in the last few months and the conversation, frankly, is mostly just hot air. The US is most likely headed for a financial wall at high speed without regard to action on the debt ceiling and that howling that if we don’t raise the ceiling we’ll damage the “full faith and credit” of the US government is laughable.

House Republicans took a symbolic vote and raising the debt ceiling and overwhelmingly said not to raise it,  House deals symbolic blow to raising debt ceiling (the vote was just this past may 31,2011). That does not sound like people who are serious about the “full faith and credit” of the government. Which according to RS doesn’t matter anyway.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. said he could care less if the debt ceiling is raised until everyone of his ransom demands are meet.

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) -ditto. Meet his demands or let the economy fall into another recession. In his words the crisis is not the debt ceiling, ” Our crisis is out-of-control spending.” Spending has not been anymore out of control now than when Republicans controlled Congress and the presidency. We have a revenue problem exacerbated by the recession Republicans left us.

FOX News: Tim Pawlenty urges Republicans not to raise debt limit. One of their presidential candidates says let the economy crash. Tim is competent and knows what he is talking about, right?

Hostage taker Jeb Hensarling(R-TX) opposes raising the debt ceiling. In short the country deserves to crash for voting for a Democratic president.

The wing-nut home of Ann Coulter TownHall says let the debt ceiling crash, Republicans Must Vote Against Raising Debt Ceiling or Face Political Annihilation

The Republicans surged to majority status in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2010 thanks in large part to the support of many independent voters who shifted their allegiance to the GOP. But the party’s candidates risk losing that support, and also losing the voter intensity and enthusiasm they would otherwise likely enjoy in November 2012, if congressional Republicans sign on to any legislative scheme that raises the federal debt ceiling. It’s just that simple.

Townhall says Hayward is the ‘mad” one in saying there is some kind of emergency when the best thing would be to throw the hostages overboard. “It’s just that simple”.

I gathered those up in five minutes of research. Hayward and conservatives have never cared about their contradictions, hypocrisies, lies, bad governance or the USA. They worship their party and their movement. They keep proving that over and over agin from Watergate to Iran-Contra to deficits that don’t matter when they’re in charge to manipulating us into the three trillion-dollar war they put on MasterCard.

 

In other news:

Norway suspect borrowed from Unabomber’s manifesto

Parts of the manifesto written by the suspect in Norway’s terrorist attack were taken almost word for word from the writings of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski.

The passages copied by Anders Behring Breivik appear in the first few pages of Kaczynski’s manifesto. Breivik changed a Kaczynski screed on leftism and what he considered to be leftists’ “feelings of inferiority” — mainly by substituting the words “multiculturalism” or “cultural Marxism” for “leftism.”

For instance, Kaczynski wrote: “One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism, so a discussion of the psychology of leftism can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of modern society in general.”

Breivik’s manifesto reads: “One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is multiculturalism, so a discussion of the psychology of multiculturalists can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of Western Europe in general.”

Breivik was also influenced by the writings of a paranoid gay conservative.

update: Matthew Yglesias on more reasons why the Harry Reid offer will not save the hostages in time: Harry Reid Calls House Republicans’ Bluff

Something you often see in negotiations is a mismatch between one side’s stated sticking points and its real sticking points. In the debate over the debt ceiling, for example, Republicans have sought to portray themselves as having two bottom lines. One is that any increase in the debt ceiling must be met dollar-for-dollar with spending cuts. The other is that no revenue increases can be part of the deal. What Harry Reid did yesterday was essentially call the GOP’s bluff by outlining a plan that raises the debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion and includes $2.7 trillion in spending cuts, a healthy share of which comes from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Republicans are rejecting this even though it nominally meets their demands. Why? Because it doesn’t achieve either of their two real objectives. In particular, the plan doesn’t cut Medicare, which means that Democratic party candidates for office in November 2012 and 2014 can accurately remind voters of the content of the Republican budget plan. In case you forgot, this plans repeals Medicare.

The Reid plan does not end increase revenues, but it does leave the current expiration date for the Bush tax cuts. That is another sticking point for conservatives. Do they really want to raise the ceiling or do they want to have a debate about the Bush tax cuts now. The cuts would be yet another ransom demand. They keep piling up. One other was the recent that a balanced budget amendment be part of the deal.

Antique World Map 1630 – The Debt Ceiling and The Noise Machine

map of the world in 17th century

Antique World Map 1630

 

Neocon John Podhoretz has taken up the mantle of complete irrelevancy from his father. Though this mini-column from Commentary is the high-brow right-wing version of how conservatives will frame any failure to raise the debt ceiling – The President Is Actually Trying to Talk the Markets Into a Panic.

Perhaps for the first time in American history, this president is literally using this press conference to create a financial panic over the weekend about the opening of the markets on Monday. He is warning of disaster on Monday. Clearly,  he wants to use this as leverage to frighten the GOP into passing the plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, which will push the debt ceiling problem into 2013, but it’s still an entirely new and astonishingly reckless gambit.

Pod seems to have problems with time lines and how we got to this point and the history of his side. It is astonishing how conveniently the right-wing intellectual memory goes blank when it comes time to prep for the next election and to once again shirk accountability. 130 Republicans Who Are In Congress Today Voted To Hike The Debt Ceiling Under Bush Without Hostage Threats

Yet these Republicans were not always demanding hostages in exchange for allowing the country to pay its own bills. In November of 2004, Congress voted in both the House and Senate to hike the U.S. debt limit by $800 billion, which raised the total ceiling to $8.1 trillion.

[  ]…Of course, there was one other difference between then and today. President George W. Bush was in the White House, and Republicans did not have an incentive to try to politically damage him by holding the debt ceiling hostage. In 2002, during another hike in the nation’s debt limit under Bush, his press secretary Ari Fleischer said it was important to raise the debt ceiling because it was not the time “to engage in activites that could in any way raise questions about the full faith and credit of the United States”.

Pod is a little late to the being aware of the economic consequences of playing chicken with the debt ceiling. If President Obama kept silent about the consequences does anyone doubt conservatives would be using that as their rhetorical weapon. Conservatives want to have it both ways. According to Michelle Bachmann(R-MN) “If we fail to pass increasing the debt ceiling, it isn’t that the federal government shuts down – it’s not like the budget”. Logically president Obama cannot scare the Right because they know the absolute truth about the failure to raise the debt ceiling. So who is Pod concerned about being scared, Democrats?  Wait a minute I can see where reading the various public statements and the pass voting record of conservatives one could be a little confused about whether the debt ceiling matters or not,

“This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world.  The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate.”  — President Ronald Reagan, 1983

“As we fight for freedom, we must not imperil the full faith and credit of the United States Government and the soundness and strength of the American economy.” — President George W. Bush, 2002

“[O]ur government now needs to keep its promise to the American people, to all of various entitlement programs, but maybe most especially the program [Social Security] that that elderly woman asked about this morning.  We must raise the statutory debt limit.” — Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), 2002

“Raising the debt limit is about meeting the obligations we have already incurred.  We must meet our obligations.  Vote for this bill.” — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), 2006

Let’s also consider Pod’s total fabrication of the numbers involved in the debt ceiling debate for the last 48 hours – he says Obama insisted on a dollar to dollar match cuts to revenue increases. Not even close to any account of the modified ‘Gang of six’ plan under debate. He gets paid to be a pundit. Does he feel he is not getting paid enough to be accurate. Even the mainstream media is reporting that tax increase are the hurdle. It is not as simple as that. Most of what Obama has asked for in revenue ( previous link) consisted of ending some tax loopholes and tax incentives, plus tax reform( one example is shortening the tax depreciation period for luxury corporate jets from seven years to five years).  As of 12 days ago – the last time Boehner walked away from discussion – the offer on the table was six dollars in spending cuts for every dollar of revenue. How about the short lived Reid-McConnell plan – a smaller package, but that was all spending cuts. The last offer on the table was a variation on the Gang of six which was $2 in cuts to $1 in revenue. This is once again where conservatives show their cowardly budget DNA. The plan seems to tie its cuts in entitlement programs and its revenue increases together. Who would decide what is spent and where. Congress. The House, with all the committees chaired by Republicans would have to make specific cuts. Boehner does not seem to think, or the tea smokers pulling his strings, that they have the intelligence, maturity or courage to make those difficult decisions. This is also the President and the Bowles-Simpson architecture safety switch designed to prevent Congress from enacting the budget cuts while killing the revenue-raising measures.

I think people are getting debt ceiling fatigue, but those looking for a blow-by-blow account of the latest meetings might find this helpful – The Inside Story of Obama and Boehner’s Second Failed Grand Bargain. Democrats leaders in the House did throw in a request for more revenue, but Boehner had already agreed in principle to some revenue raising measures. It looks like he panicked at the prospects of thinking on his feet and went to his office ask his handlers what his next step should be.

Ezra Klein recently laid out some tax incentives that we could easily do without – Your tax increase is my spending cut

I spent time digging through the federal budget this week, and I concluded that Republicans are right: There is plenty of spending to cut. For instance, we’ve got one government program that hands people money to buy houses that, in most cases, they would buy anyway. They get even more money if they buy a more expensive house. Over the next five years, that program alone will cost almost $500 billion. That can’t be the best use of taxpayer dollars.

Another federal agency will spend more than $400 billion to reward people for making money by investing and earning capital gains and dividends rather than by going to work and taking their income in wages. I like investors and I participate in the market, but is this really the sort of activity that requires a $400 billion subsidy?

 

Tax incentives are a great Keynesian toll to grease the wheels on specific parts of the economy – Michele Bachmann should know since she has taken advantage of some of that grease.  There comes a time when those incentives no longer serve a practical purpose.

Liberals who have the best intentions and know what they’re taking about in terms of policy have become obsessed with armchair psychoanalysis of President Obama. the bottom line is he is not doing enough. he is betraying Democratic values. I’m not saying they are all wrong or that Democrats should not hold him accountable, only that Obama looms as too much of the target of their ire. Very good and timely post by Amanda Marcotte on the subject – Either way, the problem is Republicans

So, from my point of view, no matter what evil or non-evil lurks in Obama’s heart, the problem is that this country keeps electing frothing-at-the-mouth crazy Republicans, and if voters would stop doing that, we wouldn’t be having one politically provoked crisis after another.  Sure, if Obama is a secret conservative, that is a problem.  But we can’t actually know that.  But what we do know for a fact is that no matter what lurks in Obama’s hearts, none of this would be happening if Republicans didn’t win the House.  So I think that my priorities are just fine, thank you very much.

Part of the problem may be short-term memory or the what have you done for me lately syndrome. President Obama’s 18 months year in office were a progressive string of victories that will likely go unmatched in my lifetime. Most of what is currently in play as far as policy choices is playing the cards he was dealt. You either have the votes for the People’s Budget or you don’t. It’s not psychology, its math.

Norwegian massacre gunman was a right-wing extremist who hated Muslims

Media reports in Norway described Breivik as a ‘loner’, who lived with his mother in a wealthy suburb of west Oslo, was well-educated and enjoyed hunting.

Only a few days ago he set up a Twitter account and posted a single message: ‘One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests’.

It is attributed to the English philosopher John Stuart Mill, whose concept of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control.

The account appears to have only been set up a few days ago.

On his Facebook profile, Breivik describes himself as a Christian and a conservative.

Also in the same article is a recounting of Norway’s radical Muslim problems. So some consolation for conservatives who were hoping this was another radical Muslim plot.

 

Full Moon High Speed Train wallpaper – Republicans Dicker With Ransom Demands Will Shoot Hostage Anyway

Full Moon High Speed Train wallpaper

Jonathan Bernstein writing at the WaPo – Is GOP quietly negotiating a surrender in debt ceiling fight?

Where do things stand in the debt limit mess? My best guess: What we’re really seeing right now is Republicans attempting to implement an organized retreat and surrender.

Here’s why. Conservatives entered into the debt limit with entirely unrealistic expectations. Moreover, having already lost battles they apparently (and, again, unrealistically) expected to win on health care and the government shutdown showdown earlier in the year, many Republicans committed even more strongly to their unrealistic expectations on the debt limit.

[   ]…I think that’s also the best way to understand the Gang of Six revived package — it offers Republicans another way out of their mess. Of course, it’s almost entirely symbolic. Down the line it’s possible that some actual legislation can emerge from it, but there’s no chance that “down the line” will be before the debt limit is extended, and there’s no way to guarantee that “down the line” will ever happen. But this is nonetheless an escape hatch of sorts — Republicans could package a debt limit increase with a symbolic vow to implement the Gang of Six proposal later.

Jonathan might be right, but he is pasting together as much logic out of the sea of crazy to paint what appears to be some kind of face saving for conservatives. As most of us know, the tensions in play have little to do with logic. I know I’m repeating myself, but think about what the House did on the Ryan(R-WI) plan. That plan increased the deficit more than either Obama’s $4 trillion grand compromise or Biden’s smaller $2 trillion deficit reduction plan. An important point to remember as Republicans try to pin blame for the lack of progress in current budget talks on President Obama. Why vote for one plan to increase deficits yet vote against a plan that cuts spending even more. Could it possibly be that the logic involved it pure childish pettiness. Conservatives are against Obama’s plan, the plan to the far Right of Ryan, just because it is a Democratic plan ( Obama’s plan short those moronic Ryan Medicare vouchers that gut Medicare). Further proof the debate is not about debt reduction, but about being against anything Obama is for, It Begins: Top Republicans Push Away From Gang Of Six Plan

Relative to current policy, though, it’s supposed to draw in $1 trillion in new revenue — surely a sticking point for House Republicans. But where do those revenues come from if the plan lowers top tax rates (or at least the top rates), eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax (at a cost to the deficit of $1.7 trillion), and doesn’t eliminate the most expensive loopholes and benefits in the tax code? That’s left to Congress to decide

It’s not just Ryan, though. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) says he opposes the Gang of Six plan because it cuts too deeply into military spending.

And, perhaps most telling of all, a Senate GOP Leadership Aide told Politico, “Background guidance: The President killed any chance of its success by 1) Embracing it. 2) Hailing the fact that it increases taxes. 3) Saying it mirrors his own plan.”

One imagines that if Obama’d said nothing, GOP aides would be complain just as loudly that the President hasn’t publicly embraced any proposal coming out of Congress. Now that he has, Republicans will run away — and that’s just what we’re seeing.

Yes, a lot of the spending cuts are in broad strokes. The specific cuts to be made would be up to committees in the House to decide. Who controls the House. Republicans. These deficit peacocks are so cowardly they are afraid to trust themselves with making specific cuts. They’re even afraid they might cut the defense budget, that ballooned after 9-11. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Ryan would be forced to have some backbone along with Congress’s double talking nut jobs like Allen West (R-FL). West would have to go further on record than he already is, for cutting Medicare ( which he says is a “socialist” plan), Social Security and Medicaid ( West is easy to pick on. He seems to suffer from paranoia and has deeply confused thoughts about how a military officer and a gentleman should conduct himself. He has said, like Herman Cain that liberals hate him because he has left the “plantation”. West made a career in a military desegregated by liberals. He was assured fair treatment and equal opportunity in the military because of liberal policies. Even though he should have been Court Marshaled for torture and abuse, he was given leniency and allowed to keep his liberal military benefits. Yet another modern wing-nut who’s opportunities and career were made possible by liberalism who sees himself as the poor victim of liberals.) You can read the Gang of Six executive summary here. And as Draconian as the GOS is, the silly McConnell/Reid stop-gap also is not enough for the tea smokers in Congress, House GOP Suicide Squad gets bigger

On Monday, Rep. Joe Walsh, a radical GOP freshman, began circulating a letter among his House Republican colleagues drawing a line in the sand: they won’t accept the McConnell/Reid plan. Period. Full stop.

Which is probably why it has occurred to Wall Street, the hostage takers might really shoot the hostage, Wall St. Makes Fallback Plans for Debt Crisis

Lawmakers in Washington are racing to reach a deal to save the country from defaulting on its debt, but on Wall Street, financial players are devising doomsday plans in case the clock runs out.

These companies are taking steps to reduce the risk of holding Treasury bonds or angling for ways to make profits from any possible upheaval. And even if a deal is reached in Washington, some in the industry fear that the dickering has already harmed the country’s market credibility.

On Wall Street, Treasuries function like a currency, and investors often use these bonds, which are supposed to be virtually fail-proof, as security deposits in their trading in the markets. Now, banks are sifting through their holdings and their customers’ holdings to determine if these security deposits will retain their value. In addition, mutual funds — which own billions of dollars in Treasuries — are working on presentations to persuade their boards that they can hold the bonds even if the government debt is downgraded. And hedge funds are stockpiling cash so they can buy up United States debt if other investors flee.

Just two years ago, Wall Street was pissed because President Obama said some mean things about them. Seriously, that is not a joke. So they poured money into the plastic roots teahadist movement. Now Wall Street may lose billions because of the people they put in office.  The good news is ( read being facetious) that just the threat of a debt ceiling collapse may have permanently hurt the value of Treasury bonds and the value of the dollar. One of the things that was keeping some average family heads above water was the ability to buy cheap imported products. Kiss that goodby as the costs foreign-made products in every price range creep up.

In other news:

The Daily Caller Is Sexist, Bachmann Smear Piece Notwithstanding

Late Monday night, Tucker Carlson’s pseudo-journalism rag, the Daily Caller, published a piece on Republican president hopeful Michele Bachmann that strongly alleged she popped pills whenever she came under any kind of stress. From the sensationalist headline, “Stress-related condition ‘incapacitates’ Bachmann; heavy pill use alleged,” to a last paragraph that highlighted her “debilitating headache episodes,” the article tried very hard to make readers understand that because of this “incapacitating” condition, she is unfit to be president.

I think is it common knowledge that Carlson is just as afraid of women as Allen West. While I find her politics morally repulsive, Bachmann has been given a mud bath she doesn’t deserve. I suffer from severe head aches – I have one right now and so I’m in a hurry to finish this post. I usually only have a few migraines a year. Like Bachmann I do not take any opiate based pain killers. She is taking  sumatriptan and odanestron as she needs to. They are drugs that reduce vascular inflammation. History buffs will remember that President John F. Kennedy had a degenerative back ailment and used strong pain killers while in office. I’ve listened to recordings of him in the Oval office during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the guy was incredibly sharp and focused. The late uber conservative Supreme Court Cheif Justice William  Rehnquist, on the other hand, had a problem with heavy drug use during his tenure that may well have affected his judgement. Bachmann is not nearly into Rehnquist drug territory, or JFK for that matter.

Despite O’Keefe’s Claims, New Video Doesn’t Show “Widespread Medicaid Fraud”. In future dictionaries under propaganda we will see to be O’Keefeified . Video editing done to maliciously misrepresent actual events will be called O’Keefe editing. Former practitioners of this kind of messaging include Joseph Goebbels, Pol Pot and Mao.

Las Vegas resort sues tea party group over hotel bill

Some Tennessee tea partiers are in hot water with a Las Vegas gambling resort that’s accusing them of skipping out on a big hotel bill.

On Monday Venetian Casino Resort, LLC., filed suit against Tea Party Nation Corporation of Franklin, Tenn., alleging the group owes $642,144 for canceling a conservative conclave last year.

Venetian Casino Resort, LLC/Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson is a major Republican political donor. What’s that called when conservatives form a circle and give each other the shaft.

The War Between Wall Street and Wingnuttia

A chance for conservatives to gut the safety net. That is in addition to turning America into a Pottersville run by the plutocracy.

Anyone familiar with the Reagan and both Bush administrations knows that while they pushed a cultural agenda to some degree they were largely corporatist Republicans. I think it was a columnists over at Slate who first called Bush the CEO president. So it has always been my belief that when looking at any power struggles between the Republican base( the Palinites, the Bachmann fans, Herman Cain, Malkin/Hot Air, the tea nuts, the xenophobes) and the Republican power brokers (Bill Kristol, the Kochs, the Coors family, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Free Enterprise Institute, the Chamber of Commerce) my money was always on the power brokers. The let’s get back to the gold standard, let’s ban abortion even in cases of rape, lets completely privatize education, let’s not fiddle with Social Security but do away with such programs completely are some of the ways the culture warriors took a back seat to what the corporatists wanted or thought was reasonable. Jonathan Chait’s observations along with public quotes from the base make me think the power might be shifting in the direction of the base. Bond Market Underestimating Nut Factor

The widespread assumption in the bond market that the debt ceiling showdown will, somehow, some way, end well strikes me as a classic underestimation of risk. We quietly assume that something terrible and pointless won’t happen because it’s never happened before, even if the potential causes of disaster are blindingly obvious. Jonathan Allen and Jake Sherman have a good story about the craziness of the Republican caucus. How crazy are these people? So crazy that the current House plan — to tie a debt ceiling hike to a Constitutional amendment to balance the budget every year and impose a California-style supermajority to increase taxes — is running into GOP dissent from the right:

Even some rock-ribbed conservatives believe it doesn’t go far enough: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told POLITICO Monday night that he was leaning “no.”

How crazy are they? So crazy they’re using the metaphors of a crazy man:

The senior House GOP aide said “the only reason” McConnell’s plan isn’t dead on arrival in the House is “because there are so few outs” to avoid a default.

“They’re in punt formation. If they’re in punt formation, we’re going to blitz,” said Chaffetz, a former college football kicker.

Add that House senior aid and Steve Loves Terrorists King(R-Iowa) to the list of conservatives who are hoping for Great Recession 2.0. Boehner(R-OH) seems to want the big bargain – $4 trillion in cuts – yet Cantor and the tea baggers smell the blood in the water. They have never been this close to ending the social safety net and are not likely to get this close again. Everyday more baby boomers retire. That means every day, regardless of politics many people become dependent on the safety net they have been paying into to survive. Millions more Americans would be plunged into unemployment and poverty should tea bagger dreams come true. A few years ago we had 12 too big to fail financial institutions. Now we have about seven. In order to keep Citibank or Goldman Sachs afloat would take another bail out should a default occur. The combination of hardships to the average American and those financial entities might serve some good, clouds and silver linings and all. American might finally learn its lesson about the moral corruption and fanaticism that fuels conservatism. Conservative pundits are already paddling as fast as they can to shift blame for reaching this point. A trend likely to continue. The dinosaurs of Wingnuttia makes it easy to track where they stand and the source of their future embarrassment, Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government Downplays Concern Over Default Despite Warnings From Experts

A post on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website downplayed concerns that the federal government could default if the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2, claiming that “the whole ‘crisis’ is as phony as a $3 Federal Reserve note.” However, experts agree that if the U.S. were to default as a result of not raising the debt ceiling, it could have significant negative effects on the economy.

[   ]…Zandi: “In A Post-Default World, Financial Markets Would Unravel And The U.S. And Global Economy Would Enter Another Severe Recession.” In a July 15 Washington Post op-ed, Moody’s economist Mark Zandi stated: “The Obama administration and Congress must raise the federal debt ceiling by Aug. 2. That’s all there is to it.” Zandi warned that failure to do so could create “another severe recession” in “U.S. and global econom[ies].”

[  ]…Meanwhile, Jim Millstein, the former restructuring officer at Treasury, who helped reorganize AIG, outlined how disastrous the consequences of default would likely be. Speaking on CNBC on Tuesday, he said that a Treasury default would affect investors of all sorts, and he criticized those who downplay the consequences.

“This would make the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy look like a walk in a park on a sunny day,” he told CNBC’s David Faber. “They’re really playing with fire.”

 

I don’t always agree with Dean Baker, but he is a pretty bright guy. This time he might be underestimating the nihilistic infatuation the conservative base has with crashing the economy again, Wall Street will not let Republicans pull the debt ceiling trigger

( speaking about default) With US government debt no longer the rock-solid pillar of the world financial system, banks would instantly lose much of their capital. They would not only have to write-down the value of government debt, but also all the assets backed by the government, like mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

This would almost certainly push the major banks into insolvency. JP Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and the rest would suddenly be back in the welfare line. And any rescue would almost certainly not restore them to their former strength and profitability like the last one did. If the government defaulted on its debt, Wall Street would take a shellacking and it would never again be the centre of world finance.

This is why we knew all along that the Republicans in Congress were not serious about their threats over allowing the government to default. While these people might be happy to kick poor people in the face, to take hard-earned wages and benefits away from working people, and to shove retirees out onto the street, the Republican congressional leadership is not about to cross Wall Street. After all, who pays for the campaigns?

In a tug of war between the tea nut base and Wall Street who will win. That is the part of the equation in play. Of course President Obama is a player in all of this, but he has offered Wall Street what they wanted, a solid deal to bring down the deficit. He has in fact been Wall Street’s man, navigating to what used to be the old Right-wing fiscal boundaries. It is not Obama’s call at this point. Lots of columns posted on this site in the last couple of days trying to portray Obama as the obstacle to a deal. That is silly fantasy projection at best. The only thing holding up the biggest and most rabid far Right deficit reduction deal in U.S. history is the tension between the tea bag hostage holders and Republican leadership. Baker also points out something so glaringly obvious it might be, other than a progressive blog, the first time the plain fact has appeared in any kind of major media ( OK Krugman excepted),

Of course this is silly, but the whole debate over the debt ceiling was silly. If congress wants to cut spending then the way to do that is to send the president smaller spending bills. They can do that any day of the week.

President Obama signaled that he was more than willing to move further Right after the mid-terms. he told Republicans to come up with their dream budget – they voted for the Ryan budget which raised the deficit far more than either the Biden $2 trillion plan or the Obama $4 trillion dollar super deal. So far the Cantors in Congress are in charge. They have voted to increase the deficit and yet rejected a true deficit reduction package – partly because they would like to kill the safety net, but partly because they really would like to blow-up the economy. From the ashes will fly a conservative Phoenix that will get us back to the imagined perfection we would have had as a country before statists like Lincoln and FDR started with their fancy social engineering.

Freak of the day – Wynn CEO Goes On Epic Anti-Obama Rant On Company Conference Call

 

And I’m saying it bluntly, that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime. And I can prove it and I could spend the next 3 hours giving you examples of all of us in this market place that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our healthcare costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right. A President that seems, that keeps using that word redistribution. Well, my customers and the companies that provide the vitality for the hospitality and restaurant industry, in the United States of America, they are frightened of this administration.And it makes you slow down and not invest your money. Everybody complains about how much money is on the side in America.

Just one of those crazed fact free rants that people with too much free time and unearned income have. If President Obama has made things so bad for Wynn’s business than why is he enjoying such enormous profits. And why was he recently bragging about how well Wynn was doing in a recent speech, Wynn Resorts (WYNN) Q2 2011 Earnings Call July 18, 2011

Stephen Wynn

Well, usually, we always say the same thing, the numbers speak for themselves. We had a great first quarter, the best in our history. And we went through it — we were just around $400 million in the first quarter. We are $447 million this time, and that quarter was about 59% better than a year ago. And in fact, for the 6 months, we’re 62% better than a year ago. We are all, in this organization, heartened by the results.

On January 3, — excuse me, on July 3, I got a phone call. I was in a different city from my colleague, Marc Schorr, and he told me that on the third day of July, we equaled in Las Vegas, our cash flow, our profits of the entire year of 2010. That was a very supercharged thing to hear, but we did $271 million last year and we hit $271 million on the third of July. So for the balance of the year, everything from here on in, in Las Vegas is improvement. And we benefited from a very favorable whole percentage.

Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn

 

Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn, second from left, stands with Wynn International Marketing President Linda Chen at the grand opening of Encore at Wynn Macau in April 2010. Wynn ranked at No. 2 on the 2010 list of highest-paid executives with $14.6 million while Chen, the first woman to break the top 10, ranked at No. 5 with $13.47 million.

And Wynn must have a soft spot for communists since the Chinese let him open up a $675 million dollar resort in China in 2008.

Wynn seems to be one of those super wealthy snobs who lives in a bubble. Income and the value produced by labor is being redistributed the way it has been for the past thirty years, upwards to lazy sleaze bags like him.

This is what Republican class warfare and supply-side economics looks like