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.

Fly Fishing wallpaper II – Congressional Republicans Still Hoping for U.S. Recession Deepens

Fly Fishing wallpaper II

How do you write yet another post on the deficit reduction talks and the debt ceiling. Every other day brings in a few more news bites. The basic structural facts remain about the same. The rabid Right is not going to change their position much because these are not the type of people open to facts. Their base does not understand, nor do they show much inclination to understand the fact that not raising the debt ceiling is the Great Recession part II. The recent jobs report was deeply disappointing, but it is not the 750,000 jobs the economy was losing back in 2008. I watched parts of three news programs this morning and the media is ever so helpful in helping conservatives sell their framing to the public – we’re having a “Deficit Reduction Crisis”, a “Debt Ceiling Crisis” and the least objectionable a “Debt Ceiling Showdown”. Goodness forbid the media call it what it is – ” A Revenue Crisis” to Protect The Richest 5% of Americans. We are also not having a spending crisis. Asa percent of GDP the only spending that is growing way out of proportion to GDP and the population is military spending ( chart at link). For Boehner, Lofty Budget Goals Checked by Reality

But the speaker’s lofty ambitions quickly crashed into the political reality of a divided, highly partisan Congress. His decision on Saturday night to abandon the comprehensive deficit-reduction package, citing the White House’s insistence on tax increases, was a sharp reversal. It highlighted the challenge he faces in persuading his party to tolerate any compromise on government spending and exposed the fissures within his own leadership team over how to proceed.

Had Mr. Boehner forged ahead with a plan that fell flat with his rank and file, it could conceivably have led to a challenge of his leadership position, and it would certainly have undermined confidence among conservatives in his ability to lead the Republicans. Even opening the door to increased revenues as part of a deal with Mr. Obama and the Democrats struck many Republicans as a profound misreading of what conservatives, in Congress and at the grass-roots level, would tolerate.

Out of the $4 trillion dollar deficit reduction deal only 10% was composed of closing tax loopholes ( in a television conference I am watching Obama say the entire 10% is solely closing tax loopholes and tax reform – NO tax increases). That is what blew up the deal. Obama put everything including Medicare and Social Security on the table. Boehner, feeling he had to pander to the Palin-Bachamn-Demint-Teanut base decided that a deal which was way further to the Right than any Regan budget was too Marxist. Did Boehner go home turn on the tanning bed and ask the maid to polish his jack boots after that proud moment. Much of that $4 trillion was about sacrifices from the middle-class and people like college students making minimum wage. Goodness knows what billionaires like hedge fund managers, the Koch brothers, the Coors family or Richard Mellon Scaife and corporations like BP would have to do without if they paid the same tax rates they had to pay in the 1990s or closed a few loopholes. The breakdown of talks cannot be about deficit reduction. Boehner and House Republicans have voted for the Paul Ryan(R-WI) plan twice. A plan that had less deficit reduction in it than either latest Obama plan or the $2 trillion-dollar deficit plan pushed previously by VP Biden. Of course Republicans can run on the complete falsehood that they really tried to be reasonable in 2012. There has not been an election cycle in modern era politics from FDR until today in which Republicans did not run on a raft of lies and promises of rainbows for everyone. Largely thanks to the net many Americans will make sure it is tougher than ever for Republicans to run on new lies or the same old. It looks like they are going to trash the economy twice because they act with the kind of unscrupulous venality one usually expect only from sociopaths. They cannot run away from that record.

Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell(R-KY) is already the front guard in revenue crisis spin – Sen. McConnell: ‘Nobody Is Talking About Not Raising The Debt Ceiling’ In Congress

Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell discussed the debt ceiling negotiations with Bret Baier on Fox News Sunday. McConnell was in agreement with Speaker John Boehner’s decision not to support a large deficit deal, yet also made a curious assertion that none of his Republican colleagues have ever claimed they will not be in support of raising the debt ceiling.

Baier, filling in for Chris Wallace, pressed McConnell on what would happen if no deal could be worked out and whether he was concerned with the consequences of what might happen if the debt ceiling is not raised. McConnell confidently responded, “nobody is talking about not raising the debt ceiling. I haven’t heard that discussed by anybody.” Yet Baier informed him that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, among others, have explicitly said just that. Baier even quoted Bachmann saying “don’t let them fool you that the economy is going to collapse” if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.

 

Let me translate that spin: None of what you are seeing or hearing in video of Republicans saying words, or reading in the press where Republicans are quoted verbatim are true. We’re all negotiating in good faith and the failure to raise the debt ceiling is all the fault of Democrats who are out to get sweaty hard-working billionaires. Digby acknowledges that it is spin, but that the draconian cuts are all but a done deal. The debt ceiling threat talk was, according to her, all about show. She is certainly right about the inevitability of the cuts. If we are to have a budget at all President Obama sign something. We can blame Obama but only up to a point. There is no way he will get a liberal Keynesian budget. No one likes that, but the choices are between a budget that he shapes and one the tea smokers have drawn a line in the sand over. That line is the one conservative columnist David Brooks called “Republican fanaticism”. Who has forced Republicans out of the fanatic closet. President Obama. Who is going to take the blame for that fanaticism. Certainly not Democrats. Taking the long view Democrats win either way. We could have had the deficit wiped out except for a few billion dollars. Republicans stopped that. We could have had more job creation. Republicans not only stopped any further job creation, but have actively tried to stop an economic recovery.

BP’s biggest sycophant  Joe Barton(R-TX) makes door mats look smart – Dim and Dimmer

The House is scheduled to vote this week on a daft and destructive measure that — in the name of individual freedom — would repeal national energy efficiency standards for light bulbs enacted by Congress in 2007. Though utterly without merit, the bill stands a fighting chance in a legislative body where ideology now routinely trumps common sense.

The standards, approved with bipartisan support as part of a broader energy bill signed by President George W. Bush, require new bulbs to use 25 to 30 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs starting next year, and 65 percent less energy by 2020. Though the standards are likely to encourage wider use of compact fluorescent bulbs and newer high-efficiency light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), they do not ban incandescents, as some politicians have claimed; they simply require them to be more efficient.

The long-term benefits, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, could be huge: national energy savings equivalent to 30 large power plants; household savings of up to $200 a year; and 100 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide pollution yearly, roughly the amount from 17 million cars. So far, not a single manufacturer has complained — G.E., Philips and Sylvania already sell bulbs that meet the 2012 standards.

Even though consumers will save money and have more choices for their lighting needs Joe BP Barton(R-TX) is determined to undo the new standards. Why does Barton love BP and foreign oil and hate America.

Rusty Stone World Map wallpaper – The Dark Disturbing World of Conservatism

Rusty Stone World Map wallpaper

 

It might be time to consider three possibilities about Michele Bachmann’s brand of crazy. 1) She is deeply disturbed. Having collected government subsidies, saying that she is subservient to her husband yet is capable of being president and being a beneficiary of tax payer subsidized health care insurance. 2) She is not a complete vessel of self-destruction, but her tendency to ideological self parody suggests a strong self-destructive streak. 3) She is secretly a progressive liberal. Knowing that the 2012 elections will feature a Republican-lite candidate (Obama) versus someone running on an extreme Right platform, she is doing the best she can to elect the candidate closest to the center. Bachmann: ‘I Hope’ Higher Unemployment Will Help My Campaign

Appearing on CNBC this morning, presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was asked about this morning’s dismal jobs report and whether higher unemployment rates might help her chances of winning in 2012. “Does it strike you that as the unemployment rate goes up, your chances of winning office also go up?” host Carl Quintanilla asked. “Well, that could be. Again, I hope so,” Bachmann replied.

By voting for the Paul Ryan (R-WI) to gut Medicare and increase the deficit Bachmann has in fact voted to sabotage the economy and pull the rug out from under seniors. In what amounts to a total 180 Bachmann has nixed Democrat and Obama administration proposals to cut as much as $4 trillion dollars in spending. Tied to her line in the sand over actually reducing the deficit, Bachmann has endorsed blowing up the economy by way of a default on the debt ceiling. A default that would indeed fulfill Bachmann’s fantasies about more unemployed Americans.

Bachmann has also signed the The FAMILY Leader’s Pledge. This pledge includes some language about eradicating porn. Whatever one’s personal opinion of porn, the Republican party has played a large role in the modern distribution of porn. Red states also tend to view quite a bit of porn according to one study. Considering the Republican investment of dollars and free time into the porn, that business is probably safe. Apparently Bachmann did not do her research into the habits of her fellow conservatives. Why would she think they were any less the hypocrite than she is. being too lazy or distracted with the sound of her own voice Bachmann shouldn’t be expected to check the pledge for historical accuracy or demeaning language directed at American of color, The FAMILY Leader’s Marriage Pledge Says Unwed Slaves Preferable Parents For African-Americans

There are so many conscienceless malicious conservatives in this country even a top one hundred list would make for many tough choices. One prime candidate would be former Bush 43 speech writer and currently WaPo columnist Marc Thiessen. Thiessen loves torture the most, except on the days when he loves telling the most malevolent falsehoods. He frequently combines the two as in a recent column. H/T to Alex Pareene for this post from Adam Serwer, Thiessen’s Definition Of “Catch And Release”. This is what the Thiessen wrote that the Washington Post had no problem publishing,

The United States’ top special operations commander told Congress that because the United States has no place to hold captured terrorists we have simply been letting them go. In his testimony, Adm. McRaven used the phrase “in many cases,” which seems to indicate that not only has this happened, but it has happened in numerous instances. Well, exactly how many al-Qaeda terrorists have been taken into U.S. custody on Navy ships and released by the Obama administration? Who are these terrorists? Where were they captured? Who decided to release them? Where were they released? And what has become of them since?

 

The use of “which seems to indicate” brings back feelings of dark nostalgia, the Bush era use of language which contained the infamous “plausible deniability”. A liberal blogger with some free time and an average intelligence could use Theissen’s technique of pulling an isolated quote out of context to make millions of Republicans look guilty of the worse kind of treason. Serwer puts up the part of the testimony that Theissen is referring to,

SEN. GRAHAM: What’s the longest we can keep somebody on the ship?

ADM. MCRAVEN: Sir, I think it depends on whether or not we think we can prosecute that individual in a U.S. court or we can return him to a third-party country.

SEN. GRAHAM: What if you can’t do either one of those?

ADM. MCRAVEN: Sir, again, if we can’t do either one of those, then we will release that individual.

SEN. GRAHAM: OK.

ADM. MCRAVEN: I mean, that becomes the unenviable option, but it is an option.

Nowhere does McRaven say that this has happened. He says its an “unenviable option,” but nowhere does he admit that “because the United States has no place to hold captured terrorists we have simply been letting them go.” It’s fair to ask whether this has happened, but Thiessen states flatly that it has been happening when he hasn’t the foggiest idea, and he states that McRaven said it’s been happening, which he quite plainly didn’t.

 

Thiessen has established quite the history of pulling opinions out of his overfed ass. He has complained several times about President Obama killing too many terrorists. Thiessen suffers both from Obama Derangement Syndrome and Democratic Derangement Syndrome. Other than a deep, disturbing  and fetishistic belief in torture, the only other thing Thiessen believes in is hating anyone who does not share his dark nihilistic world view.

While we’re on the subject of lifting stuff out of context, What did Senior Obama adviser David Plouffe really say about unemployment?

Senior Obama adviser David Plouffe is getting widely pilloried on the right today for claiming that people won’t vote in 2012 “based on the unemployment rate.”

Not the worse thing anyone has ever said but considering the state of the economy, current talks to screw the working poor and middle-class to save tax cuts for billionaires, it doesn’t sound good either. Only it was in context of how many Americans gauge how their lives are going and contrary to the Beltway press corp it is not always through the prim of Washington.

QUESTION: Axelrod likes to say that every campaign has inherited [inaudible]. You know, an environment in which unemployment is [inaudible] percent when the president runs for re-election, what’s — what’s the Obama narrative about that?

PLOUFFE: Well, listen, I don’t — you know, we’re a long way from 2012. We’re a long way from knowing what’s going on in the world and exactly what the economy is and who are opponent is.

I would make a general statement, though, because there is a lot of attention focused on the unemployment rate. The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers.

In fact, those terms very rarely pass their lips. So it’s a very one-dimensional view. They view the economy through their own personal prism. You see, people’s — people’s attitude towards their own personal financial situation has actually improved over time. You know, they’re still concerned about the long-term economic future of the country, but it’s things like “My sister was unemployed for six months and was living in my basement and now she has a job.”

There’s a — a “help wanted” sign. You know, the local diner was a little busier this week. Home Depot was a little busier. These are the ways people talk about the economy. They don’t talk about it in the terms of Washington.

And so their decision next year will be based upon two things, okay, how do I feel about things right now, and then, ultimately, campaigns are always much more about the future, and who do I think has got the best idea, the best vision for where to take the country?

I would submit to you that a healthy percentage of Americans, far more than a majority, believe the president has a very sound vision for where the country needs to go.

So, you know, people won’t vote based on the unemployment rate. They’re gonna vote based on, “How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?”

It seems Plouffe was actually asked a question about whether and how the unemployment rate would impact the Presidential race. He replied by claiming that the number itself wouldn’t impact people’s votes. In other words, Plouffe himself didn’t initially establish the political context. Plouffe then launched into a discussion about how the anemic recovery is experienced by people on a personal level. It was in that context that Plouffe reiterated that people won’t vote based on the number alone.

[  ]…But as Dave Weigel notes, the quote in isolation is widely being distorted in the media as a sign that Obama’s advisers have their heads in the sand about the economy. And looking at the full exchange, it’s hard to see how Plouffe was expressing indifference to the economic plight that ordinary people are enduring.

No doubt some people do look at the headlines on job numbers and that influences how they feel, but it is seldom the only barometer they use. Clearly in the context of the entire statement his thoughts have probably been expressed around quite a few dinner tables and lunch counters. At least some of the ones I’ve been around.

They rarely pay a price for these dirty tricks so they keep on doing it, Wisconsin Republicans doing GOTV for fake Dem candidates

Not content with just running fake Democratic candidates in the Wisconsin recall primaries, Republicans are now doing GOTV for those fake candidates as well.

Allies of one of the top GOP targets in the recalls, state senator Randy Hopper, are circulating flyers in his district trying to get out the vote for the fake Dem in the Democratic primary against his Dem opponent.

You can view the flyer, which was found and passed along by We Are Wisconsin, right here. It urges voters to go out to the polls to vote for one John Buckstaff against the real Democrat, Oshkosh deputy mayor Jessica King, a strong candidate against the vulnerable Hopper.

The idea here is to get Republicans to vote in the Democratic primary, which is allowed under Wisconsin law. If the fake Dems can win the primaries, then Wisconsin Republicans won’t even have to face a real recall election.

I checked over that bastion of right-wing  journalistic integrity Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and I am shocked to find they are not covering the sleazy antics of Wisconsin conservatives.

Jet Plane Blue wallpaper – Budget Talk Jiu-Jitsu

Jet Plane Blue wallpaper

 

The articles about deficit reduction talks from the NYT and the WaPo. The NYT – Obama to Push for Wider Deal With G.O.P. on Deficit Cuts

The president’s renewed efforts follow what knowledgeable officials said was an overture from Mr. Boehner, who met secretly with Mr. Obama last weekend, to consider as much as $1 trillion in unspecified new revenues as part of an overhaul of tax laws in exchange for an agreement that made substantial spending cuts, including in such social programs as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — programs that had been off the table.

It is the idea of cuts to Social Security and Medicare that Democratic bloggers and their commenters are most concerned about. Certainly cutting benefits to Social Security to those within 20 years of retirement might well be considered theft. Social Security is popularly thought of as a kind of retirement program. It is not. It is an insurance program. FDR and New Deal Democrats, as well as some Republicans at the time saw the kind of tail spin the economy could take. These tail spins have become a regular feature of the economy. As much as we all like free markets economies they are badly flawed. They are open to manipulation to the point of failure. Government officials who are supposed to enforce the regulations which protect average Americans from the greed and poor judgement of the too big to fail financial institutions – as the Bush administration showed – frequently fail to do their job. Those officials and Wall Street do not pay the price for financial negligence, average Americans do. Thus we have at least a little bit of a safety net. The Right and many libertarians have always thought these protections were a form of communism. So if they can weaken the safety net in any way they inevitably start to drool at the prospects. Democrats and most independents are aware that any erosion of that very thin safety net – in comparison to countries such as Germany and Sweden – is a very real threat to the average American’s ability to have the minimum necessities to live with dignity during our senior years. So across the net a lot of suspicious, anger and disappointment. Before I get to more about that, let’s go to the WaPo article covering the budget talks, In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts

As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.

“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”

Rather than roughly $2 trillion in savings, the White House is now seeking a plan that would slash more than $4 trillion from annual budget deficits over the next decade, stabilize borrowing, and defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation’s population ages.

That would represent a major legislative achievement, but it would also put Obama and GOP leaders at odds with major factions of their own parties. While Democrats would be asked to cut social-safety-net programs, Republicans would be asked to raise taxes, perhaps by letting tax breaks for the nation’s wealthiest households expire on schedule at the end of next year.

About the frustration and anger. Steve Benen has a little more of an insider track on these things and here is his opinion, Welcome to the Grand Bargain

Up until now, the projected goal has been a deal that would reduce the debt by (roughly) $2.4 trillion over (roughly) 10 years. But President Obama, who spoke Tuesday about “a unique opportunity to do something big,” apparently intends to go even further, eyeing a $4 trillion deal.

[  ]…To state what’s painfully obvious, the details mean everything. We don’t know what kind of revenue, if any, Republicans would agree to, and we don’t know what kind of entitlement cuts the president is prepared to accept. There’s apparently some talk about means testing Medicare, but it’s hard to say whether that’s just scuttlebutt.

To be sure, if this is the deal that’s taking shape, it would serve as a stunning development, but at this point, I’d recommend caution and patience. Indeed, if I were a betting man, I’d say the most likely scenario is that these leaks are coming from the White House with the intention of making Republicans look even worse if the talks break down. “Democrats offered the GOP everything,” the argument will go, “and Republicans still said no.”

I’m in no mood to take up for President Obama so this is not a defense of him. Even without touching Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare the deal he is offering is far Right supply-side economics that literally make Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 look like economic liberals. Social Security is in good shape until about mid-century. The Bush tax cuts alone equal the projected short-fall Social Security might have down the road. If Obama’s proposal – we’re lacking details – for cuts to Social Security are by way of adjusting the inflation index that is tied to increases in Social Security payments that would not be the end of the world. There is some suspicion that is what he is offering. Then there is Medicare. Political junkies are already aware that a trail balloon has been floated several times over the last year in which Medicare eligibility and/or payments are means tested. In other words wealthier recipients would pay more out of pocket. Again, this would not be cause for panic or feeling betrayed. When, in my opinion should Democrats start to feel betrayed? When and if the Bush tax cuts are taken off the table once again for yet another extension. That is not to say this would not be a good time to contact your representatives and Senators about protecting entitlements and urging the Bush tax cuts be allowed to expire on schedule in 2012. These leaks are a regular feature of poltics. They are frequently used to make one party look like it is fighting for its base – Republicans are obviously doing that with their no compromises posture. It would be a clever bit of political Jiu-Jitsu for President Obama to take that venality and intransigence and use it to his advantage. If Democrats are willing to put programs on the table which are sacrosanct, than Republicans are forced to counter. Republicans wanted $2 trillion in cuts. Obama is offering $4 trillion. If we’re playing the RPG game called Spending Cuts and Compromise, who looks like the reasonable adult today. As long as we’re playing let’s look at long term straegy and payoffs. President Obama and Democrats make those acceptable if imperfect cuts to Medicare and Social Security, plus get what could be hundreds of billions in revenue. Then you’re looking at a Democratic majority once again in the House and the Senate. That sets us up for four years of reasonable budget tweaks along with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts ( still supported by a solid majority of voters). Before I leave off and sound too optimistic, the Bush cuts are also said to be on the table. That makes for a good sound bite but if Obama is serious, he and Democrats are toast, What Obama Can Give Away, And What He Can’t

I’m not freaking out, because this is a hazy description of a possible element of fluid negotiations. But I can’t emphasize strongly enough that Obama cannot agree to anything that locks in any part of the Bush tax cuts. To do so is to abandon the only leverage he could obtain and guarantee either the starvation of government or continuing massive deficits. If Obama wins election, he needs the ability to use the GOP’s opposition to any middle class tax cut extension without an extension for the rich as leverage to let Republicans kill the whole thing for him. And if he loses reelection, then the Republican who beats him will just reinstate the tax cuts. Either way, negotiating a partial end to the Bush tax cuts harms Obama. It’s the red line.

Despite Obama’s debt ceiling blundering, even a budget deal heavily tilted toward spending cuts could be justified if it is the first step of a larger plan. The plan would be to first cut a deficit deal that eliminates the Republican threat to torpedo the economy and establishes his centrist bona fides, which would help him win reelection, after which he’d have full leverage to face down the Republicans on the tax cuts.

I think Jonathan Chait strikes just the right balance between hold on and hope for the best but realize the worse could happen.

While they may seem and act like emotionless robotrons at times the inhabitants of Wingnuttia are all about feelings when it comes to many, if not most of their arguments. After all greed, decadence, venality, arrogance and contempt for the suffering of others are feelings in addition to be acts. Conservatism is foremost based on those qualities, not the elegant theories of democracy and republicanism put forth by great thinkers such Jefferson, Hamilton, John Locke and Thomas Paine. After every Obama speech Rethuglicans spew forth the usual he didn’t do enough to project rabid nationalism, he did not sell American exceptional-ism hard enough and so forth. So it goes with the economy and “confidence” game, Did Obama kill the confidence fairy? Employers aren’t hiring, says the GOP, because big deficits breed “uncertainty.” But who is to blame for that?

So — just cut the deficit, and along will come the confidence fairy, waving her wand to usher in a magical “expansionary fiscal contraction.” A little (or a lot) of austerity, and all will be well.

One almost never hears this theory get much airtime when Republican presidents are busting budget surpluses and running up big deficits. Back when George Bush was cutting taxes, there wasn’t a peep from the business community or Republican legislators warning about the dire impact that future deficits would have on business confidence. Quite the opposite — as Dick Cheney so famously said: “deficits don’t matter.”

[   ]… Have we forgotten that just last December, Republican legislators overwhelmingly approved a package of tax cut extensions and brand new tax cuts that immediately made the nation’s deficit larger? Is there anything that could possibly be more psychologically debilitating to our national sense of self-confidence than the idea that our government might willingly fail to raise the debt ceiling and plunge our nation into utterly uncertain fiscal waters? President Obama has put on the table a budget deal sacrificing so many core Democratic priorities that a large swathe of his own party feels betrayed — and Republicans still won’t agree to it. That, surely, is something that many Americans find quite nerve-racking.

[   ]…The longer you look at this argument the nuttier it gets. As a percentage of GDP, federal taxes are lower now than they’ve been in 60 years. As percentage of personal income, federal, state and local taxes combined are also at a 60-year-low. Businesses should be shouting hallelujah, investing their money right and left with abandon, and going on wild hiring sprees because this is as good as it is going to get. Republican success at bringing taxes down so low has guaranteed that taxes must rise in the future. There’s nothing uncertain about that.

Demand creates jobs. If people do not have jobs or they are afraid they will be laid off any day they do not create demand. Gives them jobs, give them some economic security and average Americans will rescue the economy. Republicans really do think if you give billionaires even more money they will let some of the crumbs trickle down. That was the economy of southern plantation owners and 18th century European despots. Hardly the egalitarian ideals on which the U.S. was founded.

How Republicans Moved the Goal Posts. Moderate Has Become the Middle Point Between Crazy and Crazier

Crazy fights with crazy

 

From the NYT conservative columnist David Brooks, The Mother of All No-Brainers

A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.

The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.

This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.

But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative. (emphasis mine)

Liberals, progressives and that last tribe of moderate Republicans whose last reported sighting at a river camp somewhere in Maine could do a little pee pee dance in celebration. A celebration over a conservative with a huge soapbox at possibly America’s most read newspaper calling John Boehner(R-OH) and Mitch McConnell(R-KY) along with Michelle Bachmann(R-MN), Paul Ryan(R-WI), Rand Paul(R-KY) and Jim Demint(R-SC) are not normal. Something we already know. Or pause that celebration for just a minute. The fact is that letting tax rates return to what they were during the boom years of the Clinton administration would take care of most of the deficit. That seems like a “no-brainer”. Conservatives are convinced that tax cuts create jobs. That is so obviously not true one has to be blinded by ideological zeal not to see it. The Bush 43 years did have relatively low unemployment before the housing bubble of 2007, but he had a dismal net job creation record. We literally have to go back to Herbert Hoover to find worse. To say that the sane or moderate or reasonable choice is between small cuts to Medicare and a host of other cuts adding up to $4 trillion dollars. In exchange they’re asking for the closure of some small tax loopholes around the edges. Republicans walked out of that discussion ( though two Republicans have said they are open to that compromise. Two whole Republicans) In other words Democrats have agreed to austerity measures that surpass anything Ronald Reagan asked for ( he raised taxes twice and Bush 41 raised them once). Obama and current Democratic tax policies are to the right of Reagan. Current Republican tax and revenue policies are out on the far far Right. Celebrate Brooks when he moves the goal post to claim that a far Right position on taxes is a “no-brainer” because the conservative position is far to the right of Obama’s far right position. This is the Village mentality rum amock. The only fight here is not between liberal and conservative or liberal versus moderate, the fight is between degrees of crazy. President Obama’s plan is less crazy than the foaming at the mouth the rich are not making enough money crazy of conservatives. The two( there may be more and I just have not read any news about them) Republicans who are open to the Obama compromise would be well within the perimeters of the new crazy as well. Brook does get one thing clear as glass,

  If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

    And they will be right.

It’s on the net, Fox News, the lamestream media and in everyday conversation: the government has been on a spending frenzy since President Obama took office. Not even close to true. CHART OF THE DAY: ‘Out Of Control Spending’ Not Really Out Of Control At All. And more here, current spending is well within the percent of GDP of the last couple of decades. It would have been nice if Republicans and Bush had paid for two wars and their Medicare part D expenditures, but as most of us know by now only reasonable adults pay their bills and Republicans are not reasonable adults.

 

 

Tea bagger favorites Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin do like American history. Maybe its just not exciting enough. In many instances these tricornered tea bags see that U.S. history tends to favor liberals and the liberalism on which the nation was founded – Conservative Republicans Are Steeped in History. History They made Up as Though It’s a Fairy Tale Where Facts Get in the Way of a Good Story

Uncle Karl Rove was right, the American public has a two week long memory. The deeply sad irony is that they keep paying the price for that lapse, Corporate Cash Con 

Watching the evolution of economic discussion in Washington over the past couple of years has been a disheartening experience. Month by month, the discourse has gotten more primitive; with stunning speed, the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis have been forgotten, and the very ideas that got us into the crisis — regulation is always bad, what’s good for the bankers is good for America, tax cuts are the universal elixir — have regained their hold.

And now trickle-down economics — specifically, the idea that anything that increases corporate profits is good for the economy — is making a comeback.

On the face of it, this seems bizarre. Over the last two years profits have soared while unemployment has remained disastrously high. Why should anyone believe that handing even more money to corporations, no strings attached, would lead to faster job creation?

Nonetheless, trickle-down is clearly on the ascendant — and even some Democrats are buying into it.

That’s the thing about zombies they only need a few humans(Democrats) to side with them to completely distort where the middle ground is.

15-Year-Old Girl Faces Life in Prison for a Miscarriage? Why Conservatives Are Criminalizing Pregnant Women

Amanda Kimbrough is one of the women who have been ensnared as a result of the law being applied in a wholly different way. During her pregnancy her fetus was diagnosed with possible Down’s syndrome and doctors suggested she consider a termination, which Kimbrough declined as she is not in favour of abortion.

The baby was delivered by caesarean section prematurely in April 2008 and died 19 minutes after birth.

Six months later Kimbrough was arrested at home and charged with “chemical endangerment” of her unborn child on the grounds that she had taken drugs during the pregnancy – a claim she has denied.

[  ]…”If it’s not a crime for a mother to intentionally end her pregnancy, how can it be a crime for her to do it unintentionally, whether by taking drugs or smoking or whatever it is,” Robert McDuff, a civil rights lawyer asked the state supreme court.

Conservatives are leading the charge to privatize all prisons. While they are also using some convoluted legal tactics to put women in prison. What’s that called when two perverse goals compliment each other. Republicans used the bully pulpit of big government to get hundreds of thousands killed all nonexistent WMD. Republicans governors, newly elected in 2010 are using big government to steal basic rights from American workers. Now, among other things, conservatives are using big government to harass grieving women. That Republicans are the party of small government is one of several big lies that has spanned three generations. Orwell would be horrified, but impressed as well.

Sparkler 4th of July wallpaper – “the big economic problem facing our nation is that poor people have too much income and rich people have too little”

Sparkler 4th of July wallpaper

Last year’s 4th of July wallpaper featured the Washington Monument.

Most days The United States of America is left wondering what planet Republican are from. They seem so detached from the reality of the average American’s life it is difficult to tell, The Budget Debate, and What Should Be Obvious

The case for revenues is a simple one. Given the level of deficit reduction to which both parties are committed, around $4 trillion over 10-12 years, if you try to get there solely by cutting spending, you’ll be forced to cut too deeply into parts of government that vulnerable people depend on. In short, you’ll do more harm than good.

Specifics? Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, embraced by House Republicans, is a good example. As my CBPP colleague Bob Greenstein shows here, two-thirds of its spending cuts, almost $3 trillion, come from programs that help low-income families…

[   ]…More specifics come from this important editorial in the New York Times, which points out that exempting low-income programs from deficit-cutting deals “has been a major feature of deficit deals going back to 1985.” That tradition is especially germane today, with the economic recovery still far from reaching the most vulnerable among us.

According to this study the 2009 the average CEO salary at an S&P 500 Company was $1,041,012 with an average bonus of $203,714 and an annual stock award worth $2,630,574. Since corporate profits are back to prerecession levels those figures are likely very close to current levels ( Wasn’t Obama a socialist or statist who was going to redistribute all these hard-working millionaires cash or maybe he is the corporatist Democrat that many of us suspect he is). Anyway, Republicans have made it clear that any sacrifice in current budget negotiations should come from nurses, bus drivers, carpenters, sales clerks and teachers. Who knows what terrible calamity will grip the nation if these multi-millionaires have to pay the federal taxes they paid during most of the 1990s.

All this from a plan that delivers $700 billion of permanently extended Bush-era tax cuts to the wealthy. If you dropped in from outer space and looked at the Republicans’ budget, you would conclude that the big economic problem facing our nation is that poor people have too much income and rich people have too little.

Grover Norquist was part of the culture of corporation golden years acting as a conduit between money from Jack Abramoff to Ralph Reed. How he escaped from that scandal without serving times remains a mystery. he still exerts an enormous amount of power over the right-wing movement, How Grover Norquist hypnotized the GOPGrover Norquist

For nearly a decade, our federal government paid for two wars and a costly prescription drug benefit with borrowed money. Our government paid for the Bush tax cuts with borrowed money. Now, after exhausting the budget surplus left by the Clinton administration, the only spending Republicans are willing to discuss cutting is spending that helps the poor and vulnerable — meaning anything that does not touch the interests of large corporations and the very rich.

…Meanwhile, some mom-and-pop stores and college students pay more in taxes than some of our largest corporations. Still, taxes are sin to the hard-liners, though they have difficulty demonstrating a correlation over the past decade between tax cuts and economic growth.

These are the people Republicans and their messiah Grover Norquist have declared the enemy, Are Teachers and Police Officers Imaginary People?

Or at least they think they’re imaginary: To most people, school teachers, police officers, librarians and other public servants are very real. The public sees them every day, and knows that the majority work hard, care about what they do, and bring a paycheck home to their families.

But today, many Republicans — and some Democrats, too — say these workers aren’t “real;” indeed, in their world, nobody who works in the public sector has a “real job.”

[  ]…The idea that public sector work isn’t “real” has been central to the attack on state budgets and government spending in general. Last year, then-House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that President Obama’s stimulus plan proved that “obviously, government spending money doesn’t create jobs.”

Rep. Cantor should tell that to his follow Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell (R). Rep. Rigell — who earlier this year was one of the “Lucky 13” Republicans honored at a fundraiser hosted by defense contractors — is fighting to keep a government-backed nuclear submarine project in his home district, in large part because it would create 6,000 jobs.

Indeed, as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has pointed out, about 75% of the growth in federal government jobs in 2008 came in defense, homeland security and veteran’s affairs. Does that government backing make them any less “real?”

Many small business owners across the country – car dealerships, corner groceries, restaurants, the few remaining small hardware stores, specialized parts, welding shops, small construction contractors are unlikely to ask their customers if the money they were going to spend at those businesses was earned in the private sector or as an accountant or janitor or science technician with the government. Some Democratic governor in the spirit of compromise have cut jobs, but it is Republican governors who have gone after public employees with a vengeance. It is as though those public employee wages disappear down a black hole. The statistics show that those governors and Republican legislators that have made the most draconian cuts have lost the most jobs. They are creating a black hole for their state’s economy, making a full economic recovery even harder. Texas governor Perry says that Texas is a great example for the nation – slash taxes and public jobs, then stand back and watch a miracle recovery – that turned out to be a myth. Ironically Texas has the second highest number of federal public employees in the nation (354,133 federal employees and retirees). Move those employees and the retirees(with their retirement benefits out of Texas and the state is one huge poverty zone). Texas also has the largest percentage of minimum wage workers in the country. Almost a conservative fantasy come true – first a state of low wage serfs and next a country of low wage serfs. The cherry on top was that Perry relied on the Recovery Act to help with his budget problems.

Something a little different for an Independence Day related story. Thomas Jefferson as a “foodie”. Though it is probably more accurate to say it was into fresh organic food. Not that he had much of a choice in an era way before modern pesticides and herbicides. How the Founding Father’s love of local produce, French wine, and mac and cheese shaped culinary history

Despite his service as legislator, the governor of Virginia, minister to France, secretary of state, and president of the United States, Jefferson likely believed his famous statement: “The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.” In honor of the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, we explore the author’s lesser-known contribution to American culture: his influence on the country’s culinary tradition.

In an era when red meat and rum predominated, Jefferson directed his prodigious intelligence toward his health. Dinner with Jefferson sounds like dinner with Pollan because much of Pollan’s manifesto “In Defense of Food” could be taken directly from the Jefferson playbook: exercise daily, use high-quality olive oil, don’t overcook vegetables, practice moderation with complex carbohydrates and red meat, drink wine in moderation, eat plenty of fresh local organic vegetables.

Little Beach Palms Summer wallpaper – Let’s Play Debt Ceiling Armageddon

Little Beach Palms Summer wallpaper

 

I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories. Occam’s razor is usually correct. Republicans have a clear agenda. Many of the rabid right-wing players such as the Coors family, the Koch brothers, Trevor Rees-Jones and Harold Simmons try to keep a low profile so they’re shadowy figures but not secret. What these conservative sugar daddies say is what ultimately comes out of Mitch McConnell(R-KY) and John Boehner’s(R-OH) mouth and becomes part of the far Right conservative agenda. If someone said these conservatives had decided to destroy America as we know it, much in the way they have tried to destroy Medicare as we know it. That might seem a little over the top for even the most partisan Democrats or liberals. One definition of de facto is to do something in practice though not necessarily by design. It may be that Republicans are not plotting to destroy millions of Americans and their families, it either just looks that way or many are such tools they do not realize that is what they are doing. The attempt to hold the budget, thus programs such as Medicaid Medicare, hostage by using threats to not rise the debt ceiling is one such unintended plot. Another would be the attempt by conservative governors and legislators to make states and ultimately the national economy worse by making drastic budget cuts and huge lay offs of public employees rather than rise revenue, New Fiscal Year Brings Further Budget Cuts to Most States, Slowing Economic Recovery

States have enacted deep cuts in education, health care, and other important public services in their budgets for fiscal year 2012 (which begins July 1 in most states). It is the fourth year in a row of budget-cutting for states, and the 2012 cuts are deeper than in past years. Of the 32 states that have enacted budgets, as least 24 are imposing significant cuts. These cuts will delay the nation’s economic recovery and undermine efforts to create jobs.

These enacted budget cuts will cause hundreds of thousands of Arizona families to lose health insurance, force the shortening of the school year for 86,000 preschoolers in Georgia, sharply increase university tuition in North Carolina and Washington, and cost jobless disabled individuals in Michigan one-quarter of their cash assistance, among a range of other impacts.

[  ]…The cutbacks in services that many states enacted are not entirely necessary, because they have been exacerbated by federal and state actions and failures to act. The federal government, for example has provided $165 billion in emergency health and education funding to states, primarily through the 2009 Recovery Act, but those dollars are mostly ending June 30. For their part, many of the states that will implement very deep cuts in 2012 have failed to raise new revenue to replace some of the revenue lost to the recession. Some states even added to the cutbacks needed by reducing corporate taxes or other taxes — an ineffective strategy for improving economic growth that likely will do more harm than good.

Cutting state services not only harms vulnerable residents but also slows the economy’s recovery from recession by reducing overall economic activity. When states cut spending, they lay off employees, cancel contracts with vendors, reduce payments to businesses and nonprofits that provide services, and cut benefit payments to individuals. All of these steps remove demand from the economy.

Moreover, many of the services being cut are important to states’ long-term economic strength. For instance, research shows that in order to prosper, businesses require a well-educated, healthy workforce. Many of the state budget cuts described here will weaken that workforce in the future by diminishing the quality of elementary and high schools, making college less affordable, and reducing residents’ access to health care. In the long term, the savings from today’s cuts may cost states much more in diminished economic growth.

CBPP can be a little long winded and wonky but this report is relatively brief and says about the same thing – States That Cut The Most Funding Lost The Most Jobs: Analysis. If there is a conspiracy to make the economy worse, to drag out the recession or to make President Obama look as though he is fumbling you have to admit its a pretty clever way to accomplish that goal. If in the mean time conservatives destroy the United States of America and replace it with the United States of Pottersville, it is not as though conservatives would feel any shame or remorse. Its tough luck, that’s the way capitalism or more precisely their immoral and corrupt form of capitalism works.

The U.S. is a sophisticated audience when it comes to conspiracies and mysteries what with all the spy novels and police detectives on TV so any plot to destroy the country would have to have at least two parts. That brings up to the debt ceiling which Republicans raised seven times during the Bush Debacle. If that were not enough fat filled multilayered hypocrisy, Republicans voted for the Paul Ryan(R-WI) deficit reduction plan twice. A plan that would have increased the deficit so much it would violate the terms of McConnell and Boehner’s current demands. Boehner voted for the Ryan plan, but walked out on budget talks that would have reduced the deficit more. Because we want to be reasonable. Because we do not want to be shrill. Because there is no conspiracy on the part of the Republican party to cripple the U.S. economy for another decade or more, we’ll just mark up these strange and blatantly contradictory actions up to coincidence. It just looks like a concerted effort by American hating stooges to sabotage the country. Everyone knows that conservatives are all uber patriots who would never do anything to cripple America, like they would never lie to us about WMD and get thousands of Americans killed or maimed. To the Limit

Many commentators remain complacent about the debt ceiling; the very gravity of the consequences if the ceiling isn’t raised, they say, ensures that in the end politicians will do what must be done. But this complacency misses two important facts about the situation: the extremism of the modern G.O.P., and the urgent need for President Obama to draw a line in the sand against further extortion.

[  ]…But confidence isn’t the only thing at stake. Failure to raise the debt limit would also force the U.S. government to make drastic, immediate spending cuts, on a scale that would dwarf the austerity currently being imposed on Greece. And don’t believe the nonsense about the benefits of spending cuts that has taken over much of our public discourse: slashing spending at a time when the economy is deeply depressed would destroy hundreds of thousands and quite possibly millions of jobs.

[  ]…And the reason Republicans are doing this is because they must believe that it will work: Mr. Obama caved in over tax cuts, and they expect him to cave again. They believe that they have the upper hand, because the public will blame the president for the economic crisis they’re threatening to create. In fact, it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that G.O.P. leaders actually want the economy to perform badly.

In terms of just one’s humanity it would be best to get past this as soon as possible with a raised debt ceiling. Millions of Americas have already suffered enough. On the other hand Republicans will have sabotaged themselves in away that defies any imagined plot against them. Think of all the incredible conspiracies Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Michele Bachmann, Fox News, World Net Daily accuse moderate Americans of  plotting against conservatives. We could have never come up with anything as effective as debt ceiling Armageddon.

As fun or scary or tragic as all that might sound, the President may pull the Constitution card – Section 4 Of The 14th Amendment Was Designed To Stop Boehner

Balkin explains:

Like most inquiries into original understanding, this one does not resolve many of the most interesting questions. What it does suggest is an important structural principle. The threat of defaulting on government obligations is a powerful weapon, especially in a complex, interconnected world economy. Devoted partisans can use it to disrupt government, to roil ordinary politics, to undermine policies they do not like, even to seek political revenge. Section Four was placed in the Constitution to remove this weapon from ordinary politics.

In other words, it’s in the 14th Amendment to guard against exactly what Congressional Republicans are doing right now.

If a debt ceiling fight goes to the Supreme Court the odds are in the President’s favor,

Doesn’t it seem like that probability would be pretty high? If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past 11 years, it is that the Supreme Court’s decisions on critical issues are very strongly influenced by political pressure. In a situation where the entire weight of world bond markets was bearing down on Anthony Kennedy’s head, would he really vote to crash the economy and destroy the credit rating of the United States? Would any individual do that? I don’t think even Eric Cantor would, if he were solely and publicly responsible for the decision. The ability of the GOP to push the government to the brink of default, and possibly ultimately over it, depends on the diffusion of responsibility: Republicans can only do it because they can hold Democrats to blame. It’s also driven by political vulnerability: Republicans have gotten themselves into a spiraling tea-party-driven political dynamic where they seem, on issue after issue, to be incapable of voting for any proposals that a Democrat might be able to accept, for fear of the consequences from their base. Anthony Kennedy does not have to fear a primary challenge, and if the United States’ ability to pay its debts comes down to his single vote, he’ll have no excuse. Maybe I have no idea how these things work. But I can’t see a Republican Supreme Court going toe to toe with the entire massed forces of Wall Street and not blinking.

There are no guarantees, but the Robert’s Court has well established itself as in the pocket of Wall Street  interests. Bond and derivative traders may not care about working class jobs, but they do care about money.