Sunday, February 27, 2011

What Is Their Plan?

Talking about whether the Republicans are going to shut down the federal government again, Frank Rich has one of the most concise, comprehensive, and clear paragraphs you will ever see.
That’s not to say there is no fiscal mission in the right’s agenda, both nationally and locally — only that the mission has nothing to do with deficit reduction. The real goal is to reward the G.O.P.’s wealthiest patrons by crippling what remains of organized labor, by wrecking the government agencies charged with regulating and policing corporations, and, as always, by rewarding the wealthiest with more tax breaks. The bankrupt moral equation codified in the Bush era — that tax cuts tilted to the highest bracket were a higher priority even than paying for two wars — is now a given. The once-bedrock American values of shared sacrifice and equal economic opportunity have been overrun. Why Wouldn’t the Tea Party Shut It Down?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Twenty-nine percent of likely voters would blame Democrats for a government shutdown, compared to 22 percent who would hold Republicans responsible, according to a new poll conducted for The Hill.

The results are surprising because most people blamed the GOP for the last government shutdown, which occurred during President Clinton’s first term. A week before the 1995 shuttering, polls showed the public blamed Republicans by a two-to-one-margin.

The Hill’s survey, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, comes as lawmakers are heading into high-stakes spending negotiations that will seek to avert a shutdown.

Republicans have a substantial edge among independents: Thirty-four percent would blame Democrats, while only 19 percent would blame the GOP.

Democrats were able to win the message war 15 years ago, pinning the blame on congressional Republicans. A new shutdown message war has been under way for several weeks as each side jockeys for position. Republican and Democratic leaders moved closer to a short-term deal Friday, though the tentative budget framework has not yet been embraced by rank-and-file members.

The ability of Republicans to exact deep cuts and of Democrats to preserve cherished programs largely depends on whether they have the nerve to take negotiations over the brink.

Some GOP officials have feared, based on the history of the 1990s, they would be quickly blamed if Senate Democrats reject their calls for spending cuts and non-essential government employees are forced to stay home starting March 5.

The Hill’s poll suggests that, at least at this point, Democrats do not enjoy the tactical advantage that some assume they have.

Democrats would have the toughest time with men — 36 percent would blame Democrats, compared to 19 percent who would blame Republicans.

February 28, 2011 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The United States is facing a fiscal challenge that, if unaddressed, threatens U.S. prosperity and global leadership.

So how should priorities be set?

First is protecting the nation and preserving the peace. For the better part of a century, the United States has been the guarantor of peace for the world, and the world is better off for it - on balance freer, more peaceful and more prosperous. America is wealthier, its economy far more able to generate tax revenue, because of the global harmony that it helps maintain - and that no other country could provide.

Second, government should ensure that no one goes hungry.

Third, government should promote economic growth. That means maintaining ports, roads, rails, subways and airports; educating the next generation. But grandiose projects such as trips to Mars or high-speed rail to Las Vegas will have to wait.

Fourth, the country is better off if inequality is lessened; if all children, no matter the station of their birth, can aspire to wealth and greatness.

Finally, there are elements of a healthy, humane society that only government can provide: A safe supply of food and medicine. Clean air and water, national parks, a capital the country can be proud of. There are programs that are an obvious waste, such as subsidies for cotton or ethanol.

And then there are the nice-to-haves. Public radio and television provide levels of serious news and cultural coverage and of civility that are otherwise not prevalent in today's media. The Institute of Peace promotes some valuable research and field work. Support for the arts is an emblem of a civilized society. It's true that if Washington got the bigger, harder things right - controlling health-care costs and aiming entitlement programs at those who really need the help - there'd be enough left over for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. But as a matter of politics and fairness, some of the nice-to-haves are going to have to take a hit:

There are worthy things that government is no longer going to be able to do.

February 28, 2011 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Arizona House gave initial approval today to legislation that would add regulations for abortion clinics, require ultrasounds for women before abortions and remove tax credits for Planned Parenthood donors.

The first bill would apply state requirements to all abortion clinics uniformly, including those that ony sell the abortion pill RU-48. It also would require a woman to see an ultrasound image of her baby before aborting it. A second bill would prevent Planned Parenthood donors from qualifying for tax credits. The legislation now heads to the Senate.

In Virginia, pro-life lawmakers also are using regulations to try to save more babies. Legislation that would treat the state’s 21 abortion clinics like hospitals is headed to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has said he will sign it right away.

“I think it’s fair to say that all outpatient surgical hospitals or clinics should be regulated in the same way, and I think this bill will place new obstacles to abortion,” McDonnell said Thursday.

Democratic state Sen. Janet D. Howell said the bill could force many of the state’s 21 clinics to close.

Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia, celebrated the victory and encouraged pro-family groups to dance and sing.

“After more than two decades … Virginia’s abortion centers will no longer be able to hide,” she said.

A New Hampshire House committee is considering a parental notification bill that would require minors to notify their parents 48 hours before having an abortion. It would resurrect a law that was repealed four years ago.

February 28, 2011 10:04 PM  
Anonymous why did we elect this guy? said...

WASHINGTON — President Obama told the nation’s governors on Monday that he was willing to amend the measure to give states the ability to opt out of its most controversial requirement right from the start, the mandate that most people buy insurance.

In remarks to the National Governors Association, Mr. Obama said he supported legislation that would allow states to obtain waivers from the mandate as soon as it took effect in 2014.

February 28, 2011 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

The Republican party has sold the country and the media on the notion that the correct fiscal policy in a period of high unemployment is balancing the budget.

This was the policy of Herbert Hoover.

March 01, 2011 5:17 AM  
Anonymous robert is a chutzpahist said...

Robert, you idiot, borrowing a trillion and a half dollars from the Chinese a year to hire people for worthless government jobs will lead to the end of the American era, which is really the goal of anti-Americans like Barry O and Harry R

currently, there are no proposals to "balance" the budget

there are proposals to reduce the deficit to reasonable levels by eliminating government sponsorship of operas, talk shows, high speed trains, abortion counseling, costs of allowing homosexuals to call their realtionships marriages, government agents to penalize citizens for not buying helath insurance and training military personnel to celebrate sexual diversity, among other "essential" functions of government

we're guessing America would do just fine without any of this crap

from 1980 to 2006, the Reagan era, we had small deficits or surpluses, and unemployment was lower than at any point in our history

we need to stop the Obama march to socialism if we want to restore confidence in our free enterprise system and again unleash the power of unfetttered capitalism

his goal is basically to increase the share of GDP claimed by government bureacracies to as high as possible and 100% wouldn't bother him at all

March 01, 2011 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Robert -- balance the budget. What a dumb thing to do.

March 01, 2011 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a dumb thing to do to cut jobs when unemployment is so high.

GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says

March 01, 2011 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, really idiotic to live within your means.

March 01, 2011 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Basic fiscal and monetary policy lessons from history indicate that balancing the budget should not be the priority of our federal government during an economic downturn.

Reducing the supply of money and cutting jobs makes no sense when there is less money and fewer jobs available anyway.

It's a scam. The repubs think they have a chance to gut investments they don't like, such as NPR and NEA, and they figure they can fool enough people into thinking this is sound fiscal policy. It just isn't.

As I said, it was the policy of Herbert Hoover. Worked out well then, did it?

March 01, 2011 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Making tough decisions to balance the budget is really tiresome to liberals. Yawn, yawn.

March 01, 2011 1:08 PM  
Anonymous mr history said...

"the policy of Herbert Hoover. Worked out well then, did it?"

you don't understand history very well, Robert

Herbert Hoover raised taxes during the depression

just like Dems wanted to do in December before an alliance of Repubs and Obama saved the super-rich from tax hikes

also, FDR's huge expansion of government didn't cure the economy

unemployment was tragically high throughout the thirties

geography saved us

when Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini were finished destroying much of the world's industrial capacity, we were unscathed and our manufacturers supplied the world, creating a boom here

say, did you learn "history" and "economics" in public school, Robert?

"The Republican party has sold the country and the media on the notion that the correct fiscal policy in a period of high unemployment is balancing the budget."

no one is proposing balancing the budget, you idiot

what Republicans want is to reduce the deficit to the manageable level it was in the Reagan era, 1980-2006, when our economy boomed as the country ran small deficits or, sometimes, surpluses

the truth is, Reagan revealed that Keynesian economics was an emperor without clothes

the truth is, we can't afford to borrow a trillion and a half from China year in and year out in a vain attempt to create false prosperity

the government needs to be reduced as a share of our GDP and we don't need the government to subsidize operas, PBS talk shows, high-spped trains, extension of marital benefits to gay partners, abortion recommendations, agents to prosecute people who choose not to purchase health insurance, pornographic "art" exhibits, diversity training for military personnel, et al

unless we reduce our debt to sustainable levels soon, we won't be a world power and the survival of our ideals will be threatened

I don't think you'll like living under sharia

March 01, 2011 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AP WASHINGTON -- The Republican-controlled House Tuesday passed legislation cutting weekly federal spending by $4 billion and averting a government shutdown for two weeks.

Yielding to the inevitable, Senate Democrats said they would go along.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he expected the two-week bill to go to President Obama for his signature within 48 hours.

"We'll pass this and then look at how to cut the government on a long-term basis," Reid said.

Earlier Tuesday, the White House pressed for $8 billion in immediate spending cuts as part of a five-week stopgap measure to avoid a shutdown of the government.

"We do believe that if $4 billion in cuts over two weeks is acceptable, that the $8 billion over four or five weeks is something that we could agree on," said presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney.

The White House trial balloon was popped even before it was floated. Obama's proposal was ignored.

"If there had been a conversation about this 10 days ago or two days ago, we might have had something to talk about." Republican House Speaker John Boehner said earlier. "But the fact is we were forced to move on our own."

Republicans are poised to slash more than $60 billion from agency budgets over the coming months as a down payment on larger reductions later in the year, but are starting with $4 billion in cuts as the price for the two-week stopgap bill.

The $4 billion would hit some programs that Obama has sought to save and others that have billions of dollars set aside for pet projects sought by Democratic lawmakers. Republicans have banned earmarks for at least two years.

"These cuts reflect this Republican Majority's continued commitment to significantly reduce spending, rein in the nation's exploding deficits and debt, and to help our economy continue on the road to recovery," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky.

"All of us know that to have significant cuts in spending levels - it's not going to be easy," Boehner told reporters. "I understand that. Senator Reid understands that. But I think all of us know that we are going to cut spending drastically."

Tuesday's House measure would cut Army Corps of Engineers water projects, homeland security earmarks and $650 million in highway programs.

Senate Democrats and the White House have reservations about the measure but realize that cutting $60 billion through the Sept. 30 end of the budget year is something Republicans will demand.

"Providing only 14 days for all parties to resolve their differences on a full-year measure is not realistic," said Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee. "Setting up a shutdown crisis every two weeks disrupts the continuity of good government operations and long-term planning. It is not a responsible way to govern."

Democrats say the GOP measure will lead to the furlough of thousands of federal workers. The cuts are far more dramatic than attempted under prior GOP control of Congress, and would hit or eliminate hundreds of programs, including education, food inspection, health research, environmental regulation and public broadcasting, among many others.

At the same time, Republicans in the Senate have leverage that forces Democrats in the chamber to go along. Democrats control the Senate with 53 votes, but many advocate immediate spending cuts and appear unwilling to support a short-term spending bill at current levels.

Essentially, Democrats have no choice but to do as the Republicans say but since they technically control the Senate, they will be held responsible for the result.

March 01, 2011 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"(NEWSER) – According to a new poll, the nation is still on the Wisconsin protesters' side: 60% of Americans oppose weakening the collective bargaining rights of public unions, while 56% oppose cutting public employees' pay or benefits. Even so, only one-third of those surveyed in the New York Times/CBS News poll view labor unions favorably. One-quarter view them unfavorably, while the remainder is either undecided or doesn't know enough about them.

And a full 61%—including a slim majority of Republicans—believe public workers' pay is either fair or too low. So how to deal with state deficits, if not through controversial measures like the one Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is backing? Forty percent said increasing taxes is the answer, while only 22% agreed with decreasing public employee benefits. The remainder wanted to cut financing for roads (20%) or education (3%)."

March 01, 2011 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

What about WWII ended the depression? The answer is vast government employment programs, government investment in the economy, and federal deficits that were unheard of. Not to mention dramatic increases of the regulation of industry.

Keynes was right. Hoover was wrong.

March 02, 2011 4:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert, government spending had little to do with it

remember FDR had already dramatically increased government spending in the 30s, to little effect

basically, what happened was that for several years after WWII, we were the only major industrial power left whole and we had to fulfill the needs of the entire world

there was a whole world demanding what only we could sell

March 02, 2011 8:10 AM  
Anonymous John Maynard Keynes said...

again we see, only free enterpise and capitalism can produce a sustainable prosperity

I guess I was wrong

March 02, 2011 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Keynes was right. Hoover was wrong."

they were both wrong

Adam Smith, Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Arthur Laffer and Milton Friedman were right

March 02, 2011 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice." – Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

"Politics I supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." – Ronald Reagan, politician and actor

“Republicans many times can't get the words 'equality of opportunity' out of their mouths. Their lips do not form that way.” - Jack Kemp

"Laffer is a bona fide economist with a doctorate from Stanford. He's also largely responsible for the Republican belief that tax cuts pay for themselves. Now 67, Laffer runs economic-consulting and money-management firms in Nashville. About the best I could get out of him on the question of whether the Bush tax cuts have paid for themselves was "I don't know." "
(Virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in the Bush Administration acknowledges that the tax cuts of the past six years haven't paid for themselves),9171,1692027,00.html#ixzz1FTfttGiP

"I'm in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my value system, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so." – Milton Friedman

March 02, 2011 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is no harm in being sometimes wrong- especially if one is promptly found out.

John Maynard Keynes"

I know, JMK, but there are still people insisting you were right, even though you were found out.

March 03, 2011 8:11 AM  

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