Republicans, The Cowardly Lying Hostage Takers

Mitch McConnell Debt Ceiling Plan: Senate GOP Leader Offers Alternative To Obama’s ‘Grand Bargain’. Pay no attention to this. While even many Democratic pundits are giving McConnell credit for some kind of shrew play, this is nothing les than a white flag from the Senate’s Republican leader. Greg Sargent has some details and the quote of the day, Mitch McConnell to Obama: You want debt ceiling raised? Then raise it yourself!

The Post’s Jennifer Rubin had the details first:

It works like this: The plan “would give the President the ability to request smaller increases in the debt ceiling — coupled with proposed spending cuts of at least $2.5 trillion over the next year. It would provide for up to three separate sets of votes on a resolution disapproving of the increase — one later this month, the second in the fall of 2011 and the third in the summer of 2012.

The plan is modeled on the 1996 Congressional Review Act, which established expedited procedures by which Congress may disapprove agencies’ rules by enacting a joint resolution of disapproval.” The first set of votes would avoid the current default danger and ask the president for a $700 billion increase in the debt ceiling; two subsequent requests would be for $900 billion increases.

Where is the House GOP leadership on this? Michael Steel, a spokesman for John Boehner, emails:

“The Speaker shares the Leader’s frustration. Republicans are unified in our commitment to ensuring that the debt limit is not used as leverage to saddle small businesses with increased taxes that destroy jobs.” (see notes below)

Unless I’m missing something, this is not an endorsement of McConnell’s proposal. It’s just an endorsement of the sentiment driving it.

The proposal itself seems like a tacit admission that GOP leaders had concluded that they were left with no endgame in the current standoff but to cave and raise revenues — a course of action that is viewed as completely unacceptable to conservatives. It’s an effort to transfer full ownership of the debt ceiling hike to President Obama, while giving Republicans a way of casting votes against raising it that won’t have any effect or stop it from getting raised.

President Obama has cut small business taxes or provided tax incentives 17 times. He has not proposed any tax increase in the $4 trillion-dollar proposal that includes every cut Boehner(R-OH) has asked for. Even at this juncture as they hold the economy hostage, the legendary lack of integrity on the part of Republicans forbids they have an honest debate. Nothing like putting a few million more Americans out of work or keeping people from receiving their Social Security checks because they can’t admit that Obama has slashed taxes more than Reagan or Bush 41. The usual wing-nut suspects are all over what they see as McConnell’s capitulation. It’s not even theater, it’s a little sideshow for public amusement. Republicans cannot and will not vote for McConnell’s proposal. Republicans are truly captives of the fanatics that rule the conservative movement. Many Americans are caught up in the hysterics about taxes even though federal taxes are the lowest they have been since 1950 and the U.S. has the lowest tax burden of any western free market economy. If taxes were as high and such a hurdle for business growth as Republican claim than corporate profits would not be as high as they are. According to Gallup a slight majority of Americans are against raising the debt ceiling. While according to PEW the public is about evenly divided. This except from the PEW poll and an explanation to why most of the public has either been woefully uninformed or is simply bought into Republican fanaticism,

Currently, 47% say their greater concern is that raising the debt limit would lead to higher government spending and make the national debt bigger, while 42% say their greater concern is that not raising the limit would force the government into default and hurt the economy.

As usual is the case with history, the economy and general public policy issues the Right has done a tremendous job of lying to the public about the national debt and the debt ceiling. Just over the past few weeks as it looked like there might be a default. Those 47% believe that raising the debt ceiling will be bad for the national debt. Actually the reverse is true, If Congress doesn’t act soon, interest rates could spike–maybe for a long time. Then you’ll care.

That could cost taxpayers dearly, even if a default is ultimately avoided. One reason why US borrowing costs are so low is the universal belief that the government will always make good on its debts in a timely manner. But if that faith is shaken — and a good scare could do the trick — investors might decide that government debt is a riskier investment than they had imagined and demand a better return.

That will hurt. The Office of Management and Budget determined that a mere 1 percent rise in interest rates would cost taxpayers $973 billion over the next decade [pdf, pg. 23]. So a fight purportedly about cutting the deficit could actually cause it to grow much larger. That’s worth worrying about now — especially as Republicans threaten a default and claim there’s no cause for alarm.

A rare instance where an odd convergence of events have me on the same side as the Chamber of Commerce, Congress hears outcry from business lobby on debt ceiling and deficit

But the business community, which has largely kept quiet on the issue until now, does not uniformly share the Republican orthodoxy on taxes, according to some lobbyists who helped craft the statement.

The letter conspicuously avoided any mention of tax revenue partly because of differences of opinion among executives over whether to compromise on taxes to get a deal done, said a senior industry lobbyist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the internal deliberations were private.

The debt default would be exponentially more painful than anything else,” said another senior executive at a major business lobbying group.

The letter, signed by hundreds of senior company executives and groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, said that “it is critical that the U.S. government not default in any way” and urges lawmakers “to put aside partisan differences and act in the nation’s best interest.”

“The business community in large numbers is saying to our leaders in Washington, ‘Do your job,’?” said Business Roundtable President John Engler, a former Republican governor of Michigan. “Failure to raise the debt ceiling would strike an immediate and serious blow to any economic recovery, and failure to make significant progress on long-term debt reduction will continue the uncertainty which is hampering our investment climate.”

Between the almost trillion dollars a default will add to the debt imagine how much less revenue we’ll have if a few million more Americans are out of work or thousands of small businesses, even with the Obama tax breaks, close up shop. Are Republicans really going to shoot the hostage to prove a point about numbers they made up about taxes and because of fears that are pure right-wing paranoia. I’m not hoping they pull the trigger. It wouldn’t matter if I did anyway. A small blogger hardly has the kind of soapbox that Michele Bachmann has when she wishes for higher unemployment. If Republicans do pull the trigger the resulting crash of the Republican party will make my day. In the last decade this will be the second time conservatism has shoved the country into the dark abyss. Judging from the 2010 mid-term elections the public learned nothing from the first disaster. Doubling down on the same starve the beast fundamentalism, Republicans have once again driven the country to the edge of the cliff. This after President Obama subscribed to 90% of what they wanted plus threw in some abhorrent concessions on Medicare. So as conservative politicians and pundits scramble to shift all the blame to the Great Compromiser, good luck trying to sell that narrative.

The House is where spending bills originate and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) provides a good snapshot of right-wing thinking and another reason to ignore McConnell. GOP Congressman: Government Needs To ‘Sacrifice’ And Lay Off More Workers

Brady’s suggestion that the government needs to lay off more workers during a time of high unemployment is not only disturbingly out-of-touch, it’s also untrue. Last month marked the sharpest decline in state and local jobs since the 1982, and most job growth at the moment is coming from private companies.

As Matt Yglesias has documented, over 500,000 government workers have lost their jobs since January 2009. State and local government employees have been particularly hard hit: nearly 100,000 have lost their jobs so far this year, and 464,000 have found themselves jobless since September 2008. Forecasts say another 110,000 could soon lose their jobs as states begin their new fiscal years.

[   ]…According to David Leonhardt, if state and local governments had continued to hire at their previous pace, they would have added half a million jobs to the economy. In other words, government austerity over the past two years “has cost the economy about one million jobs.”

It should go without saying, but apparently doesn’t, that it’s a bad thing that some small businesses are laying off workers and the public sector should not try to emulate them. It’s also callous and ignorant to suggest that government workers aren’t shouldering their fair share of economic pain.

 

It would be great if the private sector would have created 500,000 jobs. As it is those people may not be recipients of tax payer funded jobs, but they are also no longer consumers. When they had jobs they bought cars, groceries, clothes and made house payments. Now they’re looking for work. Only a few of those jobs are now done by the private sector where the services rendered can cost more. This fact is frequently left out of job/cost analysis. I’m not against privatization, only the one size fits all prescriptions of wing-nuts like Brady. Contractors Cheating Employees and the Public.

 

In other news:

Remember tea bagger Kenneth Gladney who said he was beaten for no reason by some union “thugs”. Well those union members were found not guilty and it took the jury all of forty minutes to come to that verdict. Two charged in scuffle at St. Louis County meeting found not guilty

McCowan and Molens, each at the meeting for the Service Employees International Union, claim Gladney was selling anti-Obama buttons, and that when they confronted him about them, Gladney started the physical attack by slapping McCowan’s hands.

Molens testified that Gladney slapped McCowan’s hands a second time, and that McCowan pushed him.

Gladney started punching him in the face,” Molens said. “I tried pulling him off.”

The attack escalated with more punches and shoves, and McCowan suffered a fractured shoulder, he testified.

McCowan, a Baptist minister, got chuckles in the courtroom when he testified that he didn’t turn the other cheek because it “hadn’t gotten hit yet.”

At the Gladney was the one who claimed McCowan started it and it was the poor victim. Gladney later appeared outside a hospital in a wheel chair he did not need. Even today the right is ignoring the evidence and portraying Gladney as a victim who didn’t get justice. On the other hand this could have been avoided. In situations like this, especially in the age of the internet, those on any side should make an extra effort to avoid physical confrontations. It is a little ironic that the Right, who likes to portray themselves as tough guys, are crying about how mean those union liberals are: TBogg has a funny write-up.

Fox News is Trying to Intimate and Silence Its Critics

As Glenn Beck’s television show came to a close, Fox News launched a flurry of attacks on Media Matters for America making the ludicrous argument that the Internal Revenue Service should revoke our status as a nonprofit organization. Over the past three weeks, Fox News has run more than 30 segments on this topic on both its “news” and opinion shows, with additional coverage on the Fox Business Network and on its Fox Nation website. The network has repeatedly encouraged viewers to file complaints with the IRS, even providing a direct link to a pre-filled form on Fox Nation.

This attack is nothing more than an attempt by Fox News to silence a vocal critic. The network’s parent company, News Corp., is a $10+ billion company. Because of its size and influence, News Corp. believes it can intimidate anyone who takes issue with its overt political agenda and distortion of facts.

Also pointed out is that the deeply wacko Media Research Center( run by wing-nut emeritus Brent Bozell) has the same non-profit status. Which is also true of many rabid Right organizations. If there is going to be a McCarthyite purge of non-profit groups than the Right will be closing down most of its propaganda machine.

 

Tax Cuts, War Costs Do Lasting Harm to Budget Outlook

Just two policies dating from the Bush Administration — tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — accounted for over $500 billion of the deficit in 2009 and will account for $7 trillion in deficits in 2009 through 2019, including the associated debt-service costs. [7] By 2019, we estimate that these two policies will account for almost half — nearly $10 trillion — of the $20 trillion in debt that will be owed under current policies.[8] (The Medicare prescription drug benefit enacted in 2003 also will substantially increase deficits and debt, but we are unable to quantify these impacts due to data limitations.) These impacts easily dwarf the stimulus and financial rescues, which will account for less than $2 trillion (less than 10 percent) of the debt at that time. Furthermore, unlike those temporary costs, these inherited policies (especially the tax cuts and the drug benefit) do not fade away as the economy recovers.

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